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Hydrangea Plants

Q.When And How Should My Hydrangeas Be Pruned For The Cold Weather?

Zone 62901 | Anonymous added on October 14, 2022 | Answered

I live in southern Illinois. Also, I was truing to log in but get the message that my password is incorrect. It’s theonly one I have used on this website in the past. Any idea why my password is incorrect? My email (for an answer) is combz1491@gamil.com. My user name is KermitSC

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Answered on October 15, 2022

I will let one of the admins chime in regarding the login problem. Regarding when to prune, you should have elaborated more on what type of hydrangea you have. In Carbondale's Zone 6a, Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) and Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are the most bloom reliable in addition to being winter hardy to Zone 3. In general, hydrangeas do not have to be pruned but these two are best pruned after the plants are dormant as pruning then will not trigger new growth as a result of pruning now. If you prune now and it is close to the average date of first frost (the average falls on the 2nd-3rd weeks of October in Carbondale), the new growth triggered by pruning will get zapped by early frosts. Another disadvantage of pruning too much/frequently is that you end up producing a lot of new stems that tend to flop by the end of the season; green stems are typically weaker than woodier looking stems. Alas, some people are probably cutting off down their Smooth Hydrangeas now to produce even more blooms than normal. Feel free to prune when dormant in a late part of fall, during winter or in early spring. The remaining types of hydrangeas, such as French Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), Mountain Hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata), Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala), etc., all of these typically produce spring 2023 flower buds inside the ends of the stems/branches a few weeks/month after they stop opening new blooms in spring 2022. Thus pruning these types of hydrangeas now in October would result in no or few blooms in spring 2023. Deadheading of the spent blooms (different from pruning) can be done at any time of the year or just let the blooms fall down on their own (they remain attached for many more months if left alone). Additional thoughts… In areas with a lot of snowfall, you can deadhead the spent blooms early regularly (in the fall) to minimize the damage caused by the weight of snow on the stems. This weight can sometimes break branches/stems. Deadheading in the fall is also practical if the plant suffers from re-occurring leaf fungal infections: plant debris (foliage and spent blooms) should then be discarded in the trash when the plant is dormant (not in a compost pile) as the leaves/blooms will contain fungal spores.

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