One of the most often asked questions about hydrangea is how to prune them. The following is a recap of the pruning instructions offered by Gene Griffith of Wilkerson Gardens in Atlanta.
Slight pruning for shape may be done at any time.
Dead wood may be done at any time.
Blooms only may be removed any time after the bloom has finished in the summer or fall. Some people think leaving blooms on the plants will help prevent winter kill. Remove the old blooms then in early spring as the buds are forming on the stem.
MOPHEADS AND LACECAPS, H. Macrophylla
On mature plants, remove about one quarter to one third of the oldest stems every year right down to the root line. This will promote new growth from the root. Remember on Hydrangea Macrophylla the blooms come of mature stems which in most cases are a year old. But, you may get some late season blooming on new stems that started early in the year in those locations with long growing seasons.
OAK LEAF, H.Quercifolia
These also bloom on mature or "old" wood. "By and large we don't prune oakleaves at all once planted, assuming you've chosen a site that has enough space to accomodate it," Gene added.
Blooms from other varieties of Hydrangea are on new stems every year. Annual pruning may be done back to the ground in the fall or spring.
Other good information on pruning can be found at http://www.agnr.umd.edu/users/cmrec/art4.htm or at Hydrangeas! Hydrangeas! This is a great H. site overall.
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