Saturday, May 22, 2010

Can I cut the old wood off my hydrangeas?

I live in Georgia and it is getting cooler, we moved in a new house and the hydrangeas still have the old wood (no blooms) from last year (spring). Would it hurt them if I cut it off now? They look awful!!! They are starting to bloom and get fuller but it would look much better if I can cut it off without killing them!

Can I cut the old wood off my hydrangeas?
find your plant here...

I'm thinking you have a PeeGee?... white blooms , blooming now?.... if so, go ahead and cut out the dead wood...IF you find your plant on that site and it IS a Paniculata.... if it's a mophead or lacecap don't cut anything until AFTER it blooms next spring and that branch is STILL dead .... read up on that site about pruning, too... will help get your hydrangea in it's best shape possible............
Reply:LF above is right because hydrangeas bloom on those stalks. The more you cut back those stalks the less height the plant will have the following year. When I first planted my small gallon hydrangeas I would cut them back to the ground and was wondering why mine were so much smaller than my neighbor's planted at the same time. She was only pruning off the blooms and a couple of inches of woody stalk. Since I started to do that, mine is now 6-7 foot tall...You won't kill them by hard pruning them, but you will stunt their growth next year.
Reply:As awful as they look they are revitalizing themselves. In other words pottung energy back into their roots. Those "sticks" will also re-bloom, those that do not next year, mark for culling. If you really cannot stand it, burlap them for the winter.
Reply:As beautiful as Hydrangea can be, there are many different varieties. Different kinds have different pruning requirements.

There are those that bloom on old wood. This is the majority of Hydrangea. If you prune the old wood, you might be taking the risk of cutting off next year's flower buds. You should not prune this type of hydrangea until early in the Spring.

Then there are those that bloom on new wood. For these, it is ok to do some late pruning, because new stems will grow the following season and thus you will have flowers.

The key is to find out what kind of Hydrangea you have. If it does flower at this time, it is a late blooming one, and very well might be the PeeGee. If you determine that it is, you can prune it now, as it will bloom on new wood.

Hope this helps!


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