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Gardening with George Weigel

Answers to your gardening questions and other tips by George Weigel.

Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 14:07:06 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2017

Should I prune my sad-looking hydrangeas? Gardening Q&A with George Weigel

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:18 UTC


Don't fret if dead leaves are still hanging on your hydrangeas. So long as the roots and branches are alive, you'll get new growth come spring. Don't prune them now.

Q: My hydrangea bush is limp and dead-looking. Should I cut it back?

A: Winter is not a good time to prune most hydrangeas, especially the most common big-leaf (macrophylla) types.

Odds are you have leaves that were killed by the cold but that are still hanging on. So long as the roots, branches and dormant buds are alive, your plant is OK.

 I'd mainly be worried about newly planted ones that weren't watered through the dry fall. It's possible that some of those died due to dry soil. If that's the case, there's nothing you can do about that at this point.

Either way, wait until spring and watch for buds to swell and open into new leaves and flowers.

If the size is fine and new growth is happening then, no need to prune at all. If the size is too big, the time to prune big-leaf hydrangeas is right after they're done blooming, ideally from mid to late July.

Even branches or branch tips that have died over winter can be cut back in late spring or summer once you see what's made it and what didn't.

With any luck, it won't get so cold this winter that the dormant flower buds freeze and fail to open in spring as was the case 2 and 3 winters ago.

Last year, our dormant hydrangea buds did fine all winter but then got frozen by an April nosedive after the buds had begun to grow.

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Gifts for gardeners? Check out these new books

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:00:09 UTC


Garden books make a worthy holiday gift for the gardener on your list. Here are 10 of the best new gardening titles for 2016.