how do i deal with hydrangeas that are too big

colorlady(Mass/NH Coastal Area)August 16, 2011

I'm new to this particular forum but I'm prayin you can either advise me or point me to where I can find some good advice. I bought a small cape with hydrangeas all in front of the house near the bldg. and then there is a stone path in front of them and then another bed of hydrangeas also going the length of the front of the house. I was thrilled to have them 4 yrs ago but they have doubled in size. They get so big you can barely walk down the 4' wide path that is between the rows. I have cut them back mercilessly but they just keep coming back bigger. I think most of them are Endless Summer but there are a coupld of smaller leaved, smaller petalled orchid colored ones too. They all run into each other on each side. I really want to dramatically reduce the size and amount of these shrubs. What can I do? I've ready that cutting them back won't help. That they just come back as big or bigger than the year before and that's been my experience. I don't feed and I barely ever water. Help. I'll post pictures if that would be helpful.

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You can make all kinds of combinations between pruning and transplanting (moving). Each will have its advantages and disadvantages. For example, prune them all hard every so many years (this will last for a while, "x" years before you need to do it again); prune them to give them a haircut every year (you need to prune every year); transplant all (or some) to move them all a few feet away from the walking area (not all in one year of course; maybe take several years if you cannot do them all in one growing season); replace them all/some with smaller hydrangeas (move the big ones elsewhere or give them away to neighbors/relatives/garden clubs for their fall sales). You couold even engage landscape companies (more expen$ive).

I think if you can post pictures, some people here might be able to help. But give them time though since many people go out of town at the end of the summer.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 10:41AM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

It's no secret that bigleaf hydrangeas love the soil and climate of your particular region. This means that most will achieve their full size with ease, and we all know that pruning always encourages new stem & leaf growth.

As Luis said, the only real options for you are to change the spacing or switch to smaller cultivars if your property size doesn't allow for your current variety.

As far as your particular specimens go, if they get bigger than 4' around they are probably Nikko Blue hydrangeas, which bloom reliably in your area. ES usually gets no bigger than 4' (diameter) around so if the root balls aren't within 3' of a walk I don't see an issue there. However, ES are rebloomers that were bred in the northern midwest, so they may need a few years of "training" to bloom well in your milder climate.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 2:07AM
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