I have a question regarding pruning a hydrangea, and while there are many, many articles online that address the issue, I have not found one that adresses my specific situation (like how NOT to prune hydrangeas). To start, my family moved into a new house in November. We did not address landscaping issues until that following spring. We had a 'bush' that looked more like sticks in the ground. Not knowing what it was, I thought it might benefit from a good cut back. Kind of like an overgrown rose bush. Anyway, the poor thing has suffered for the past year and a half. It did nothing but sprout a few leaves toward the base of the plant last year (which helped identify it). This spring it has sprouted more leaves from the bottom. While I don't expect it to bloom this year, I would like to know what to do with it. The 'sticks' that I cut back are dry, light brown and bare. Not very pretty. And if I don't have to, I would rather not throw it away. But I have thought of transplanting it to another part of the yard. We live in Oregon, and I see hydrangeas blooming all the time. They do very well in my area. So, what are your thoughts? Can I transplant it while it is cut back and easier to handle? What might the root ball look like (how big)? Should I cut back the sticks to the ground, or maybe to the leaf? I don't know the age of the hydrangea, but when I got a hold of it, it was no taller than waist high.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It can transplant fairly easy, but make sure it is done while dormant and get as much of the root system as possible. Generally, the root ball is not too large, especially on smaller shrubs. This article will help reduce transplant shock: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/environmental/learn-how-to-avoid-and-repair-transplant-shock-in-plants.htm As for pruning, they actually don't need it unless they're extremely overgrown or have dead stems, which can be cut to the ground.