Home » growing herbs » Hack Jobs: Pruning Rosemary

Hack Jobs: Pruning Rosemary

I did not get nearly as much done this long weekend as I had hoped or planned for thanks to the darned cold and rain. I was able to cross a few things off ye olde To Do List (on your left <—–) but not as many as I had wanted. I did, however, have my first adventure pruning rosemary.

The rosemary bush was burgeoning last season but, like many of us in the northern U.S. climes this year, it was looking a little beat-up after this hard winter.

pruning rosemary

pruning rosemary

I’m not entirely sure it survived the below-freezing temperatures we had, but I can tell you that when I yanked on it to see if the roots were as a lifeless as the branches appeared, they held fast, which tells me that what’s below ground is healthy for now.

So, I had two choices.

1. Leave it alone and pray a rosary for the rosemary.

2. Prune it drastically with the hope of “rejuvenating” it. See, rosemary doesn’t grow new shoots from bare, older wood, so the scraggles you see above will likely remain scraggles if left alone. The brown branches won’t suddenly turn green is what I’m saying.

I chose #2, even though I felt like I was making a bad situation worse. But I pressed on and followed the Internet’s murky advice to cut it way back. I hope my “way back” was aligned with the Internet’s “way back.”

pruning rosemary

While this kind of hack job worked for our hydrangea last year, only time will tell if I made the right decision with the rosemary. But here’s something I do know: If this rosemary doesn’t rebound, I will be planting some new plants because, while Chefie and I don’t cook with it much, the smell is simultaneously resplendent to me and repulsive to garden pests, so it’s a win/win.

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