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After winter damage, how far can I cut back my Hydrangea

I appreciate the answer I received to my question, and I have a followup question. My question was:
I have Mophead (paniculatas) hydrangea bushes, probably 8 – 10 years old, that get covered with beautiful flowers late June and July. The harsh winter in Cincinnati apparently got them. Green branches are coming out at the base of each bush but the rest of the 4 – 5 foot high bush looks dead. Can I cut these back and how far?

My followup question is, only small new branches are appearing at the base. Should I cut all of the other branches down to the base?

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1 Comment To "After winter damage, how far can I cut back my Hydrangea"

#1 Comment By theficuswrangler On 05/21/2014 @ 7:53 pm

If the branches are dead, you can cut them back to the base. If not dead, cut only the dead portion off. Determine if the branches are dead by cutting them, starting at the tips. When you cut, if the tissue is all brown and hard or crispy, the branch is dead. If there is green, moist tissue, the branch is still alive.

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