Old oakleaf hydrangea leaves not falling
This is my first post here. I'm usually over at the Kitchens forum.
My small front yard was completely re-landscaped in early 2011. I have a oakleaf hydrangea in a sheltered spot that gets shade most of the day but sun later in the day, which it seems to tolerate just fine.
In 2011 it produced many beautiful blooms. :)
In 2012 I pruned it incorrectly, removing the old wood. The foliage was lush, but no blooms. :(
In 2013 I tried to prune with more restraint. Again lush foliage but no blooms. But wait...in September two lone (but lovely) blooms appeared), filling me with hope and joy. A landscaper friend said basically don't cut the plant back at all.
So, here it is 2014. All the old wood remains and lots of buds are forming. Can't wait to see what happens.
My question is, so many of last year's leaves remain. The coldest temps are mostly over. We've been in a drought but received a lot of rain this past week. Do I leave the leaves? Will they fall off eventually?
BTW, when I check my zip code for my hardiness zone, I get anything from 8 to 9b. It really doesn't get much colder than the upper 20s here (Santa Rosa, CA), and only one or two days a year.