Ask a Question forum: What to do about my rosemary?

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 23, 2017 8:12 PM CST
Hope I can post pictures because every picture tells a story.

This started sometime after I bought my house in 98. I wanted to see if I could grow much given the number of trees surrounding my postage stamp backyard. I planted what was probably a 1/2 gallon size rosemary. And it grew! And took over what I later learned was the sunniest place in my yard. Here's what it grew into.

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Last October I 'hired' someone to help me with the garden. I say 'hired' because she left before I could pay her and she never came by again. (Yes, she had references but it doesn't matter now.) Anyway I said that I'd love it if the rosemary could be trimmed or cut back as long as it wouldn't damage the plant. She arrived while I was at the computer and I didn't realize she was working. I came outside and here's what I saw.


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Maybe due to the look on my face, she skiddadled out of there. BTW, that V shaped notch goes way toward the middle of my shrub. So not much has changed since last October or so I thought. I don't know if this has been gradual or just happened. (The rosemary is not in the main path I use.) But some branches are bare, others are bare near the root end but have green further up, and basically it's a big mess. You can see the thick roots and also the brittle branches.


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I started cleaning out some of the old leaves and mulch but the birds were hollering at me to leave their plant alone. (It's close to a bird feeder and makes a good landing area.) And now it's been raining so I thought I'd see if anyone knows what I should do. Overall it's a very hardy plant and takes general abuse by me. I just don't like what seems to be a sudden change in it.

I think I should get rid of the bare, brittle branches. But then again, maybe they'll sprout some new growth. And what to do with the branches that are green only on the upper half? Any suggestions? Please?

Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 23, 2017 8:52 PM CST
Rosemary does get woody with age, but some judicious trimming could help a little. Those bare twiggy branches are probably dead, but you can give them the scratch test to see if there is any green under the bark. Cut back live branches to a growth pointing the way you want. It won't be as full as it was because it 's leaves are at the ends of the branches, but you might get a better shape.
I have seen them grown as roadside hedges, and that would involve hedge trimmers, so at least some types must releaf.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 23, 2017 9:00 PM CST
@ctcarol - thanks for your reply. I am worried about how to cut back the live branches where the leaves are at the ends. Maybe I'll just work on the brittle branches, assuming that they are dead. Then see what happens in the meantime.

Rosemary is generally very hardy, especially in Texas. I've never been able to give any away b/c everyone else is growing it. I kinda think I've seen mine look a little sad from time to time, but never like this.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
May 23, 2017 9:03 PM CST
It was obviously attacked by a gardener who didn't have a clue.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 24, 2017 11:39 AM CST
HOWDY !😁!
Around edges, it has probably rooted, and you can transplant, or you can take a healty stem. Stick it in ground, and it will grow. But ! If its hot, i would start cutting in pot.
Now !😁😁😁!
Bee-ing the vege-head that i am.
I'm gonna make a suggestion.
Since its sunnyest part of yard.
I would plant tomato, pepper, squash, etc ! There.
Rosemary can get by with less sun.
Oooo !!! A tree rose with rosemary underneath.
I love brainstorming. 😁 !!!
Y'all come back now.... Yaw hear !
😎😎😎

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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