Old stems of hydrangea - should I cut them off?

clarendonJune 19, 2011

I have a hydrangea that is growing from the bottom. All its old stems look dead, with no shoots at all. In spring these branches did produce many buds, and then they withered down after I gave them a pile of growmore. Someone says these buds died because of the winter damage on the roots. I don't know what the real cause is--too much growmore or winter damage or both?

Now I am wondering whether to leave these stems or cut them off to envigorate the new growth. Will there ever be new buds on the old stems, or are they completely dead? I would really hate to lose these stems, which represent two years of growth. But if they are sitting there doing nothing, I better cut them down.

If I do cut them, how far should I cut them, all the way to the ground or leave some above ground with a hope to see some buds there?

Thank you very much for your answer.

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gardengal48

If there is no sign of new growth on the stems now, then yes, remove them. Cut back all the way to the base of the plant or to where any new growth is apparent.

Not knowing where you are located, it's hard to speculate why these stems started to leaf out then stopped. In my area - where winter protection is usually unnecessary - we did experience some late hard frosts after the hydrangeas began to bud out. Any growth that was present died from cold damage. Not sure what 'growmore' is but assume it some sort of compost, composted manure or composted biosolids. None of these is likely to have caused the damage you describe......sounds much more like it is weather related.

Depending on location and what hydrangeas you are growing, you may or may not get flowers this season. Just focus on keeping the plants happy and healthy, protect for winter if appropriate and you should enjoy flowers as usual next season.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:00PM
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