Herbs forum: Rosemary, 10+ years old, woody- cut back or get a new plant?

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Jan 18, 2018 8:09 AM CST
I have a nice warm corner where I have grown rosemary for years. The first plant eventually got sprawling and messy, so I took it all out and planted a new one.. maybe 8- ten years ago. Now this one is looking very bronze from the severe cold this winter, and has a lot of short woody branches from being trimmed, not much new growth looking very promising. Should I remove that and just get a new one? I expect, yes, but wondered what you all might think. Would it put out a lot of new growth if I cut it way back to woody stems?
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Jan 18, 2018 9:59 PM CST
I'm not sure it would put on new growth and fill in with such drastic pruning.
I also wonder when the best time of year would be to prune it back.
Are you up to digging this one up and putting in a new one? Sounds like a lot of work...
For using, I do like the fresh tender stems of rosemary far better and think I would opt for the new one.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jan 19, 2018 6:48 AM CST
yeah, a bit of work but i think that's what I'll do. Then i can improve the soil too.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Jan 19, 2018 4:26 PM CST
Wow--I'm impressed that anyone can keep rosemary for 10 years! Overwintering ours indoors is hit or miss at best, and no chance it can stay outdoors.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jan 19, 2018 6:46 PM CST
Linda, I'm nominally zone 7 a or b, and this sunny corner where the rosemary lives could be 8 or better.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Jan 19, 2018 7:10 PM CST
Rosemary was one of the 1st things I planted when I bought my house 20 years ago. It couldn't have been any bigger than a gallon size pot. I was just experimenting to find out where the sun would be. Well that little rosemary is about 6'x8'. It suffered some damage a year or 2 ago when someone who allegedly knew what she was doing had a different opinion of what 'a little trim' means. (I had surgery otherwise I wouldn't have had her do any work.) By the time I saw what she was doing, she's cut a large v-shaped chunk out of it. But rosemary is very hardy down here and so far it's doing ok.
First picture was taken in April 2016

Thumb of 2018-01-20/tx_flower_child/b28e5f

The 2nd picture was taken in October 2016. I cried.

Thumb of 2018-01-20/tx_flower_child/54c758

I do think our recent freezing temps (hey! it's cold for us) might have hurt it a bit but I can't imagine removing it.

Sally, why would you want to remove yours? Anyway, I wouldn't cut it back now. I'd wait until spring, whenever that might be. You can amend the soil anytime you like. And that's the extent of my gardening knowledge.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Jan 19, 2018 7:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Richard
California mountains & Nevada (Zone 7a)
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valleyranch
Mar 22, 2018 6:16 PM CST
Two month have passed ~ wonder what you've done ```

There a wharf at San Francisco ~ with ~ Rosemary ~ as hedges ```

You can do both ~ trim or shape you plants and ~ get new ones ~ if you've room ```


Richard
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Mar 22, 2018 6:53 PM CST
I haven't done anything to mine other than apologize to it whenever I walk by.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Mar 22, 2018 8:03 PM CST
i haven't taken action yet. it was starting to bloom a little on one branch, so felt bad about taking it out while in bloom. And weather has been marginal still, and I found other things to work on. Then we got hit by another storm- the most snow of the whole winter here.
But there really is no good looking growth on the whole thing, this winter was a death knell, I can't really find any parts that look good enough to use.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Mar 22, 2018 9:26 PM CST
Sometimes you have to be ruthless. Shrug!

If it is brittle-dead and you dig it up, woody pieces might smell nice on a fire. Don't know enough to know if that suggestion was dangerous, but I can still smell the aromatic smoke...in my mind, of course. Hilarious!
This, too, shall pass.

Tending a patch of earth in Seattle
JuandelBosque
Mar 22, 2018 10:45 PM CST
My rosemary, in Seattle, never looks good pulling out of winter. It's flowering now and won't start putting out new, harvest ready growth until May at the earliest. In June I harvest about half of the new shoots and prune out any ultra long old branches. The farther the branch is from the root crown the less vigorous it usually is. My planting is getting on 20 years old now.
[Last edited by JuandelBosque - Mar 22, 2018 10:47 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1665898 (11)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Mar 23, 2018 5:16 AM CST
good to know, thank you both!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Sheryl Gallant
Fort Nelson, British Columbia, (Zone 3b)
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Providence_North
Jul 17, 2018 9:04 AM CST

New Member

Taking out the center is a common way to prune back large bushes. They die in the center as they get big, since no light shines in there.

I would cut it a lot of it right back to the ground in the spring and then you should get some new usable growth from the roots. If you are gong to replace it anyway, I would cut it all right back to the ground and wait to see if you get all new, tender growth.

You can also root green stems easily. Take many cuttings and root them in damp soil/sand before digging it out. You will have several new babies to replace it with. Smiling
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Jul 17, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Well,
hope that helps the next person. I dug it out, it looked horrible. It had one emergence point from the ground, not a suckering growth that looked likely to make new stems.
I opted to support my local nursery and buy a new young plant.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
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lovemyhouse
Jul 17, 2018 4:02 PM CST
Thumbs up
This, too, shall pass.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Jul 17, 2018 8:02 PM CST
Good for you Sally on supporting the local nursery. I sometimes wonder how profitable their business is when I purchase a perennial plant or take cuttings or save seeds. Whistling

And Sheryl, I agree with Sally. You shared good information that I'm certain will help others that read this. Thanks and Welcome!

Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.

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