Transplanting crooked hydrangea tree & other Q

peegeeJuly 11, 2014

I am considering having some large plants moved. One is a peegee hydrangea tree which is leaning quite a bit. Is it possible to replant it at an angle to make it straight? As I type this the answer seems likely obvious to be no, but want to explore any chances it could be done successfully.
Another - how does one determine the best branching structure that would provide for the optimum P.G. Hyd. tree shape and height (for ex.; how many feet off the ground before branching, is there ever a strong leader or is there always just a branching off in all directions, etc.)
One of my P.G. trees has a couple of rather large branches/suckers just a foot or less up from the base that I've missed - ok to try to cut or saw off?
Thanks.

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hcmcdole(z7)

You could try planting it at an angle to bring it to plumb but part of the root ball would probably be above ground which would be an obstacle you may not be able to overcome. Another solution is to plant it at the same angle it was originally and try to bend it back to vertical through the use of stakes and ropes (not all at once).

How high do you want it grow? I'd pick a height to chop at (do it in early spring or after it goes dormant) and cut them all off if you choose to. It has been a great while since I bought my P.G. but I know at about 3 to 5 feet is where I'd cut all the branches off and keep the height about there. I don't know what the nursery business did to get this original trunk but I have a feeling they chose more than one limb to create the trunk. Over time they seem to merge together. I took some cuttings of my old P.G. from our last home (the original died after being shaded out by trees) and kept those few cuttings in a gallon glazed pot for a few years - maybe ten. I finally put that pot of "bonsai" cuttings in the ground and it grew to about six to seven feet tall. I kind of neglected it so it became overwhelming in size but the blooms suffered for all this growth. I am trying to rectify that problem starting this early summer by hedging it back to a more formal shape in hopes of blooms this year or at least next that matched what it once was so long ago.

You can cut lower branches at any time (there are so many typically).

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:30PM
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peegee

I think the trunk is too thick to bend back at this point. I have a couple trees but this one has a better shape, tho the leaning trunk is a huge issue. I want to get as much height as possible, but won't be taking this one if there is no way to plant it to straighten it....how can they attain much height when the short trunks are topped with a snakey mess of branches all erupting from the trunk at all angles and none seem to be leaders??? Or is there something wrong with mine? Both have just single trunks. Glad to know I can cut those lower branches off. Thanks!.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:17PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

You would have to pick one or more limbs to keep and then stake them to keep them straight to get a taller trunk. It will take a few years for them to thicken but they would get there given time.

Good luck on your endeavors

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:54AM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Why is your PG tree leaning quite a bit? How much off straight upright is it - 20 degrees, more? (From straight vertical to horizontal is 90 degrees.) Maybe it's been reaching for the sun, curving the trunk in the process? How tall does it measure now from soil to top along the trunk?

Have moved a number of tall shrubs & immature trees over the years successfully, some lopsided from crowding or reaching for light. Each has been an individual puzzle to solve, requiring its own strategy. Given the degree off true vertical & the height of the plant, glad to help you brainstorm what might be the best method for it. Also, where do you garden - zone, state? In a hurry to have this done this time of year, or can you wait for cooler weather in early September or so to make it easier on the plant?

Don't grow PG's myself, but have watched several neighbors' mature over the years into trees of various heights, some quite tall, usually trained to form main trunks rather than several. Personally, would never remove branches of any size in the Summer unless breakage required it. Wait till they're dormant - which would be an ideal time to transplant them - then prune in early Spring before sap upflow & leafgrow to let the plant heal most easily with minimal scarring.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:29PM
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