Pruning a pee gee hydrangea

ianna(Z5b)July 18, 2005

Hello everyone,

I have a huge and lovely limelight pee gee hydrangea. It's already in it's second season and boy it's grown quite a bit and with promises of a load of blooms this season.

One problem, I can already see that this plant may overwhelm the other plants in the border and I would like to keep it to a certain size and height without affecting it's bloom. Is there are a recommended method to pruning this plant? I'm thinking that if I were to prune the flowering branches early next spring back by a foot or more - this would produce more branches and become the flowering branches the following season. Let me know if this is the right way to do it. Thanks in advance.


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You can prune them anytime before the new blooms are set. Late winter, early spring is recommended so it sounds like you are on the right track.....yg

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 10:56AM
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Thanks, I prefer to prune in spring because of the heavy snow fall we usually get in winter. I find that with more dense branching the plant is often more protected from winter's worst, so I leave it be until spring. Besides the pinnacle shape blooms manages to let the snow slide off easily. However, it's not the pruning time that I am unclear with and sorry for not being very clear about my question. My question is - Will the stems that result from the pruning - set out new blooms in the same season or will it bloom next year? I'm also assuming that the non-flowering branches of this year, will produce next year's blooms - is this right?

Thanks for your help


    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 4:27PM
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Paniculatas or "PeeGee" hydrangeas bloom on new growth of the current season. They can (but should not) be cut back to the ground in spring and still bloom in the late summer. By cutting back by half each year, the stems will be stronger and the blooms will be larger (but fewer). I hope I understood your question correctly this time.....yg

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 4:42PM
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Yes thanks. I was planning to do some hard pruning otherwise I'd have a tree. I'd like to keep it at a level I can enjoy. This particular type of peegee has been very happy in my yard and the blooms have been plentiful. I don't mind losing some blooms next season - sometimes a plant that is too prolific can overpower the entire area.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 9:59AM
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Is the pee gee easy to start cuttings? Just curious, tried a couple but they died. I just potted them in a mix of potting soil and peat moss, anyone have any advice?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 11:53AM
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Propagation is relatively easy. I prepared cuttings early summer last year and by Sept. I had several rooted plants.

Here's what you need to do.

"Cuttings should generally consist of the current or past seasonÂs growth. Avoid material with flower buds if possible. Remove any flowers and flower buds when preparing cuttings so the cuttingÂs energy can be used in producing new roots rather than flowers. Take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants, preferably from the upper part of the plant. Take cuttings from the young branches. Early morning is the best time to take cuttings. Early morning is the best time to take cuttings, because the plant is fully turgid. While terminal parts of the stem are best, a long shoot can be divided into several cuttings. Cuttings are generally 4 to 6 inches long. Use a sharp, thin-bladed pocket knife or sharp pruning shears. If necessary, dip the cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to prevent transmitting diseases from infected plant parts to healthy ones.

Remove the leaves from the lower one-third to one-half of the cutting.
Treating cuttings with rooting hormones. Be sure to tap the cuttings to remove excess hormone when root hormone is in powdered form. Use a soilless mix for your rooting medium. No topsoil, no garden soil. Materials commonly used are coarse sand, a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume). Insert the cuttings (vertically)one-third to one-half their length into the medium. Make sure the buds are pointed up. Space cuttings just far enough apart to allow all leaves to receive sunlight. Water again after inserting the cuttings if the containers or frames are 3 or more inches in depth. Cover the cuttings with plastic and place in indirect light. Avoid direct sun. Keep the medium moist until the cuttings have rooted. Rooting will be improved if the cuttings are misted on a regular basis.

Once rooted, they may be left in the rooting structure until spring.

Newly rooted cuttings should not be transplanted directly into the landscape. Instead, transplant them into containers or into a bed. Growing them to a larger size before transplanting to a permanent location will increase the chances for survival."

Hope this procedure is clear.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 1:31PM
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I have a pee-gee hydrangea tree new this year. A deer bit off two branches before I could protect it. I have like a half tree now, full of flower's that are weighing down the tree. I do have it tied down.
When can I cut the flowers off this tree? (My bush too.) They are turning dark now.......flowering done?
They are such beautiful tree's, Please anyone? I could use your help.
MILLIONS of thanks!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 2:55PM
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The flowers will begin turning red now and these are rather nice for fall. However if you prefer to remove them, you can do this now or simply wait till next spring.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:22PM
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Kim, regarding your question on leaf spots. I don't have enough ezperience to advise you on hydrangea diseases - however this a site that might help -

If you suspect it's fungal, use anti-fungal sprays. Remove not only the leaves but the branch itself to prevent spread. Always sterilize your pruners. When watering, water the roots only. Try not to sprinkle water the leaves and blooms which encourages fungal diseases including mildew.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:44AM
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Hello Ianna,
I believe you are right. Fungal. I have always watered my plants with the hose leaves and all with no problem............but this does indeed look fungal. I thank you again for your advice.
Kim :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 8:39PM
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I need to transplant a hydrangea that is located at the bottom of a sloping area that hasn't been getting enough water. Can I do this now or do I need to wait until it gets cooler?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:22AM
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I'm not sure what kind you have but if it's a large one, I'd suggest waiting till it goes dormant (after the first frost) and make sure you get a good sized root ball. Top with mulch for winter protection.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 11:52AM
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I bought a pee gee that was maybe a foot long(including the roots) and Im dipping my hand into traning it into a tree. Its been about a year now and it has grown tremendously but the main branches are not to my liking. Should I just cut it down to the ground or just trim the branches back to the shape that I liked them? And when should I do it? It hasnt bloomed yet but Id imagen that it wont for a year or so, or till its strong enough to support the blooms. So im not worried about it not bloom next year. I just want it in a good shape.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:10PM
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As I don't know what the plant looks like I'm reluctant to suggest a full cut down. You see when you cut down a lead trunk, you will force your plant to fan out broom style. branches will grow outwards from the stump. In ohter words, it will bush out.

Can I ask you to describe what bothers you about the plant? how are you training it to be a tree? What kind of shape? Topiary lollipop style or natural style? if you could post photos is would help.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:07PM
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