Endless Summer: I learned something and stand corrected

mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)May 29, 2010

Okay, as you may recall, I've blasted Endless Summer in the past for being a dud. Big time . I've had them for a handful of years now (got them when they first were introduced) and the most flowers I'd ever have was a measly few per bush, IF I was lucky, and some of them never even bloomed all summer.

Well, I learned something this spring...

Normally in the spring I go around and trim off what looks like dead branches after I start seeing mounds of green growth at the bottom - all this greenery at the bottom and bare sticks at the top with no swollen buds, I just figured the bare stems were dead. This spring I just didn't have time to get the trimming chores done - I would look out the window and think "those really look crappy, I *have* to get them trimmed", but just never got around to it save three bushes that were right in my sight line and driving me batty.

Guess what? I know you're going to guess it - it's obvious...

Yep, the ones I didn't trim back are finally leafing out at the top of the bushes (but kind of puny leaves compared to the bottom new growth) and are loaded - and I mean **LOADED** - with buds. The three I did trim back are nice and green with not a bud in sight.

So, lesson learned - LEAVE THEM ALONE and be rewarded...

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Congratulations, mkx3! There is nothing like MORE HYDRANGEA BUDS to make the day! I leave my dried out looking stems until the mid to end of May. In your sonze, you can leave them on until some time in the first half of June.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 10:19PM
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Did you winter protect? I am wondering if I should leave them without the Winter protectand if I do if they will bloom as much.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 8:57PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

No, I did not.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 9:14PM
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I wish I was so lucky. I just had to go out and check mine after reading your post, and my dead wood is still just dead wood.:(

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Jen26(USDA zone 6/MO)

Oh my! That is so funny. The same EXACT thing happened to me this year. Not enough time to trim the "dead" wood and it all eventually leafed out and I am loaded with flowers. I hope you're right and it's a matter of leaving them alone. The other variable is that we had a very snowy winter and they might be happy due to the extra moisture, or maybe were protected from extreme cold by the snowy blanket.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 5:45PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

mxk3, I know it's tempting, but some things are best to be left alone! LOL! I did not trim my ES back, and now they are literally covered with HUNDREDS of buds. It's gonna be a good summer!!! Enjoy :-)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:55PM
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stompede(z7 VA)

For you zone 5 people, what was the coldest temperature you hit this year? If it was anything like here, while we had a below average temp winter, we lacked any serious cold. March '09 we had 3 consecutive nights we had single digits with snow and hydrangeas (and other plants) did not bloom well that year. ES's first bloom is off of old and new growth and that's why it's the heaviest. Remaining flowering is on new growth, which is why each successive flowering is weaker than the previous.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:05PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

OK, so I guess I am one of the "zone 5 people"... (sounds weird LOL)

Our lowest temperature this past winter was in the teens. No single digit.

My experience here was that the winter temperature was probably not the biggest determining factor for the blooming habit of ES. It probably had more to do with whether we had any hard frost that would kill off the buds that were no longer dormant during early spring.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:24PM
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stompede(z7 VA)

That's a problem as well, but I didn't see much of it at all this spring. The lack of spring cold damage after the buds have broken dormancy and the lack of low temps in the winter would lead to a heavier spring bloom.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 1:07AM
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dwk001(z5 IL)

Totally agree with Stompede on this one. I live in the far western 'burbs of Chicago--solid zone 5. Our winter low this year was -11F--totally fried the ES leaf and flower buds this year (just like the previous winter's lows of -25F). Once again, without winter protection, my 8 H. serrata 'Woodlander' sailed through just fine--totally covered in leaves and flower buds, and even the 'Bluebirds' in more protected spots came through OK. When we do have a winter with no zubzero lows, even the Nikko Blue buds survive, as well as the ES. So, thank the mild winter temps and lack of killer late-spring frosts for the glorious performance of ES in other regions this year.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 10:42AM
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stompede(z7 VA)

You're dead on. I can't find a link to the pic, but there's a map from NOAA/NCDC showing how the lowest temperatures comapred to normal dropped straight down from the Dakotas to Minnesota south to Texas then over to Florida, sparing east and north of that from the extreme cold, at least compared to average. In fact, average winter temperatures were below normal for most of the nation east of the Rockies, greatest in the regions in the previous sentence. New England, especially northern parts, had an extremely warm winter.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 4:20PM
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Well, last year when I read this post (having already trimmed my ES "dead" branches), I decided that next time, I'd let them go for a while and see what happened. I was searching for this post tonight, so thought I'd bring it to the top in case anyone else is interested.

Mxk3, I'd be interested to known if you have the same thing happen this year. I've also had some Endless Summers since they were introduced, and have been very disappointed, except when I covered them. This year a couple of them have buds slightly higher up the branches (probably due to snow cover). Several, though, have mostly branches that look hollow/crispy. But I'm going to give it till the end of the month (if I can stand it!), and see what happens.

I guess I should probably give it an extra week since we're running behind last year.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 9:35PM
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