Rose of Sharon Issues

Hi all,
I live about 20 miles north of Boston, Zone 5 and have a large ROS in my yard that has done well for many years. This year I've got NOTHING, no buds, no leaves, no signs of life. I just cut two large branches off of it (from the ground up) - it was getting way too large and I'm thinking maybe that will scare it into doing something :-)
There are no signs of disease or bugs or anything, and the large sections I cut appeared to be alive - it's hard to tell though, when it's dormant it's so stiff.
It usually leafs out late, but this is ridiculous.
Anybody have a ROS go quiet for a year then come back?? Or is this thing gonzo?
Thanks LeeAnne
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Scratch the bark with your fingernail. If you see a little green just under the bark, it's alive! My ROS has just started blooming one week ago, 8 feet tall, and growing like a weed. In zone 7, east TN.
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In article snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.com says...

I've never seen that happen but I have seen old and very old ROS just die one year for no apparent reason. Mine (in Zone 5 Chicago) don't bloom or bud until mid July but they're in full leaf mode now and growing out. I maintain a hedge and help seedlings along so if mom suddenly dies one year, there are many redundant ROS to take her place.
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I live not far from you. The past winter was the worst for plants for 30 years (some say longer, no matter). If your ROS was in an exposed area it may well have had winter damage. The leaf buds may have been killed.
Follow the advice of another poster - scratch the bark with a knife. If you see green it is alive, if brown it is dead. Remove all dead and see what happens with the rest. In the fall, after dormancy starts, cut it to the ground.
John
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We scratched, it is alive - Is there any special fertilizer or anything I should be doing for it?
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ROS likes lots of water and sun. Weed the area and apply mulch to help retain moisture. Miracle Grow applications help, but only apply it when you know the plant is healthy.
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Save some money. Buy a bag of balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 is common) and use that. 50 lb. bag is $10 here. Use the savings to treat yourself to your favorite cold beverage.
John
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LeeAnne wrote:

I live just west of Boston. I, too, thought my RoS might be defunct, but it has just started leafing out.
-- Jean B.
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I'm hoping mine comes back next year. The buds don't look so good.

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