Answer: The best time to prune your rose of sharon is from late March through early May, before the leaf buds open and begin to expand. Pruning in early spring will encourage additional side shoots to form. This should translate into more flowers in July and August, as flower buds will form on many of these new shoots.
As to your question about how far back Rose-of-Sharon can be pruned, you may be surprised to learn that it can be cut back to stubs no more than two or three feet tall without risk of injury. While you can use hedge shears to perform this major surgery, my recommendation would be to selectively remove individual shoots to different heights with hand pruners or a small, folding pruning saw. This technique will result in a smaller plant while preserving a more natural form.
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