Common name: Rose of Sharon, Althea
Plant Link: http://plantsdatabase.com/go/788/
Hello, I am from Syracuse. I had several Rose of Sharon start ups given to me last year. I stuck them in the ground not knowing what to do with them. I have decided to train them to grow as small trees. Is this what was done the plant shown or is that the natural state. Thanks
This rose of sharon bush was "trained" as a tree. Each year, after it flowers, cut back all of the side shoots, and leave a main straight stem that will develop into the trunk. Prune throughout the summer as needed to maintain this shape. Not letting the side branches develop will force the plant to put all of its energy into developing taller. Obviously, keep some "top" branches with leaves as you go. It's up to you how tall you want the trunk to be before you let it develop its side branches. Look at the plants database link for a picture of a very straight tree with a round "bush" on top. http://plantsdatabase.com/go/788/
I think that they are very attractive grown like this! It takes quite a bit of pruning, but don't be worried about what you cut off, because they grow fast! Good luck with your trees. Happy Gardening!
The top is nice and full so your neighbor did this right.