Help determining if my hydrangea is dead.

piperjaneApril 24, 2014

I've done a search and have found others with similar problems but I really wanted to post a pic to see what you all think of mine. Last fall my husband thought he was being helpful by mowing down my 8 year old hydrangea. Yep. Has never done it before but thought it would be a good idea this time around. Needless to say I wasn't too happy. I had hopes that this spring just maybe it would come back. See the picture, it doesn't look like anything is happening. Is it too early yet to see any growth? Am I sunk? Should I look for a new bush (sigh)? I'm in the central ny area, if I do look for a new one, when is a good time to plant? Or, should I continue to be patient? I'm SOO upset. I'm pretty sure it was an annabelle, it had white flowers and flowered every year. Thanks for any good or bad news you can give me....
p.s. - any green you see is grass/weeds. :(

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I think it's too early in zone 5 to be producing new growth, but if it's Annabelle, it doesn't matter so much that he cut it back. It will grow from the base and should still give you flowers this year. good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:18AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I agree with lalala. Give it time. Mowing does not kill the roots so they should be able to produce new growth when the time is right. Unless something else other than that shock affected the roots (lack of water, adding fertilizer in the fall, etc), one would expect to see new growth in due time for Zone 5. Keep an eye on it; maintain it mulched and the soil moist. Fertilize after it has leafed out.

That being said, you are not the only one with those symptoms, piperjane. I have an Annabelle showing no leaf out signs or growth from the base yet and that is rare/late in my zone. We did have winter issues this year where the temps fluctuated wildly/often and killed the stems of other Macs nearby. I assumed my oakleafs and Anna would fare ok since they are so winter hardy but Anna is surprising me.

However, now that summer temps are near, I am noticing signs of watering issues on nearby plants and am wondering if I have blockage or breakage on the drip irrigation system. I am going to have top run tests to see if that area is getting water or enough water...

I do not remember if you said... what kind of hydrangea is this?


    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:38AM
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Thanks so much for making me feel there may be a chance! Luis, yes, I did say in my post that I'm pretty sure it's an Annabelle, of course I can't look at it now to be sure, ha ha. But after reading about the Annabelle and seeing pics, I'm almost certain. When I got it from the nursery and planted it (in the fall) it bloomed the next year and has bloomed ever since. I have another that I bought from Lowe's that I've had even longer and it's never bloomed. I'm not as worried about that one because the one that was cut down was beautiful. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it comes back, we had a wickedly cold winter, hope that didn't hurt the roots. I will keep watch on it and once I see some growth I'll give it some fertilizer.
Would you say if I don't see anything happening towards the end of May that it's probably doomed?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:29AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

For some reason the common consensus around here is to prune Annabelle's in the fall down to exactly what you show. They come back strong every year.

I had an endless summer the dogs used as a urinal for an entire winter. The following spring it showed no signs of life and I yanked it on the May long weekend. Thankfully I was lazy and didn't put it in the compost pile but tossed it on the ground because on the July long weekend I noticed a little new growth coming from the neglected root ball. I replanted it and it out grew the one I had replaced it with.

So, IMHO, I would give it a good and long chance to comeback. If you do replace it in may I highly suggest potting the rootball and hanging on to it for the summer.

Good luck

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 1:05PM
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Because everyone seems to come to the same conclusion I'm going to take a chance and let it go, won't replace it with something else this year. If it doesn't come back this summer I'll find one in the early fall and replace it then. You are all giving me high hopes that it will come back, I sure hope so, loved that darn bush! Poor husband probably won't hear the end of it, ever! Thanks again ever so much for your replies!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

piperjane, I'm sorry to hear about your hydrangea but the good news is I believe everyone here is right!

I purchased an annabelle this spring that was still dormant that was cut down very low to the ground and the employee at the shop said you can cut it down to the ground every year and still have blooms the following year.

I double checked that when I got home and bookmarked the site for future reference. This is what it says about them:

"Many people grow hedges of Annabelle and cut them within a few inches of the ground each fall so they will not be an eyesore during the winter. They will still bloom beautifully in the spring/summer, however this drastic pruning may not allow stems to increase in size, and they may need staking to hold up the large heads."

I wish you luck but I think your annabelle will be a-okay :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrangea Site

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:29PM
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I just checked on it this week and was happy to see some new growth! Just a few shoots but I'm thrilled to see that it's coming back, if it blooms this year I'll be extra thrilled! I'm glad I came here and checked before totally giving up! Thanks for all your advice!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:30PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Good news then! Since it blooms on new wood, you should be able to see bloomage around June-ish.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 3:54PM
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Crossing fingers!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 3:56PM
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I apologize for bumping in here...but I was wondering the same thing about my Pinky signs of life yet...I planted it early last summer and it did great. I checked out the Hydrangea Site above and am under the impression that Pinky Winky's bloom on new wood. I left the plant over the winter stems intact - it is about a foot and a half high. Because it is a paniculata I can cut them to the ground, yes?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:30PM
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