Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time to prune Hydrangea's

Hydrangea macrophylla is best pruned very selectively now. The Hydrangeas are one of the more delicate plants to prune. As the pictures indicate, many buds look black from frost burn. Some may grow out as only the outer parts are burned but the next layer is nice and green. I'm hoping that is the case, and believe all will fine for blooms this summer.

In the case where buds are blackened all the way back, those will not leaf out from the damaged buds, and flowers will most likely be less. Some stems could be damaged as well. I am recommending waiting to see what comes out in the early spring, and quickly removing bad limbs once it is apparent they are not going to produce.

We always remove dead wood now, and usually take a few stems out totally as a means of partial rejuvenation of the inner hydrangea. I like to remove the oldest canes, which are usually larger, and sometimes rotting in places. Sometimes there are huge buds emerging from the crown area, and removing an older cane gives ample room for new growth to take its place.

This little lesson on Hydrangea pruning on highlights the whole process, as the issues of winter are different every year. Some of the aspects I've not mentioned are bloom removal and tipping back some canes. I would prefer you only try to remove the old flower, and no more for fear of removing all the buds. Misunderstanding of where to cut is easier done than not, so I don't recommend for you to try tipping.

If all you do is remove the dead wood, then you have done the most important part of Late Winter Pruning of your Hydrangeas.

H. tardeva (left) is a wonderful plant which can be cut very hard now. In the picture, I keep this one large because of the location, which has room to allows for size. In other places, we must cut them much more to allow use of a path, or a patio space.

H. paniculata (PeeGee) is another variety which can be cut now to contain and control the size of this massive variety.

Hydrangea
'Annabelle' is a low variety which can be kept low by cutting it back, but I wouldn't lower them to less than a foot.


You should be finishing up many varieties of plants in the Atlanta area gardens now. Abelia, Althea (Rose of Sharon),
Barberry, Beautyberry, Butteryfly Bushes, Camellia Sasanqua, Crape Myrtle, Helleborous (Lenten Rose), Hydrangeas, Japanese Spirea, Liriope, Mahonia, Nandina, Ornamental Grasses, Osmanthus Tea Olive, Sweetshrub, Vitex,

For information:
http://www.precisionpruning.com

and/or newsletter:
http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Precision.Pruning.770-452-7121

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