I have an old rosemary bush that looks like a mini tree trunk where it leaves the soil. After years of pruning, it stands about four feet high and the green leaves appear from about one foot up from the soil.
How high up from the ground would it be safe to prune it without killing it or shortening its life? I'd like to clear it from the ground so that I can grow plants below it (that would then get some light) but would it be a good idea to have about 3 feet of plain 'trunk' before the green bush starts? Or would this lead to problems getting nutrients and water from the soil to the leaves?
There wouldn't be a problem with nutrients.
In the sticks near Peterborough
It would be like a lollipop standard bay tree
Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.
Tomsk, I'm going to be cruel to a plant.
I'd get rid of it and plant a new one.
I have a rosemary like that in the middle of my herb garden and then I plant herbs round it. Makes a nice feature, it seems to be shaped like a wind swept tree! I guess it is only about 2ft tall with a foot of bare trunk though.
I would prune it a couple of inches above its lowest leaves, it should survive. I have one in a similiar state and I'm going to start taking cuttings to make new plants as I've found the older it gets the more likely it is to snap, especially with the strong winds we've been having.
Thanks for the replies,
I don't want to get rid of it because it looks nice where it is, especially looking so mature and rustic.
I'm not sure exactly what I'd like to plant around it, but probably shorter bulbs like daffs, tulips and crocuses. Or maybe even a colourful 'carpet' of pansies grown from seeds or something.
I never thought about it snapping in the wind before. The trunk is pretty thick and it's never been bothered by the occasional gales I get. There was the storm a couple of weeks ago and the one in October, both of which blew over big heavy plant pots in other gardens and blew a few things over in mine, but the rosemary bush seemed to be unscathed. Though maybe they usually only live for a few years?
If ever I wanted to pull it up and start again, how would I go about growing a new bush from a cutting of the existing one? I assume I need to pull the root up and cut a piece of that out or something|?