When to protect hydrangea in NE Ohio?

kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)October 10, 2009

I have a new Forever and Ever Series "Blue Heaven" hydrangea that I just planted this early summer. This coming weeks lows will get to the lower 30's. Should I be protecting now? The plant still has all it's leaves on.

I am new to hydrangea's and don't really know what to expect.

I know that the plant blooms on old and new wood, but I'd like to keep the old's too. I have chicken wire fencing, oak leaves and pine needles to cover with.

When do others in the general area do their winter protecting? Should the plant have lost it's leaves before doing this? Or do I protect even with them on?

I have searched the forum about the subject and read about protecting. One poster said to protect 2 to 3 weeks before the first hard frost.

Any ideas? I'd hate to lose my blooms that will come next year.

Thanks all,

kentstar

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luis_pr

I would always put the chicken wire first, like in the second half of September maybe just to be ready. Then I would begin to store the leaves some time in September so they are good and ready. If the temps gently go down into the freezing mark, the buds should be acclimated and will be fine. If the temps stay warm and then suddendly dip then I would finish protecting the shrub for winter. There is no exact date when you should do these things, just historical temperature patters known to you & neighbors, the average date of first frost and of course, future weather forecasts.

Available tools: the plant itself (if it goes dormant, add the leaves); the 10-day forecast available at www.weather.com (watch out for unexpected sudden dips); the well famous 2-3 weeks before the avge date of first frost (if your local weather varies too much, make it 3-4 weeks before this date). You can also ask around.... local nurseries, garden clubs and neighbors when they add the leaves and why. For example, when local nurseries bring tropical plants indoors, that would make me put the chicken wire around the plants. Then I would use the weather forecasts & the average date of first frost to decide when to add the leaves.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 1:44PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thankyou! But, would it hurt the plant to put the chicken wire and leaves on if the plant still has it's own leaves? In other words, it's not like a rose, where you wait until it has defoliated to add the protection? This week it's supposed to be in the 50's during the day and 30's at night!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 4:55PM
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hydrangeasnohio(6a)

I am in NE Ohio also. It is way to early to bag them. The old buds will not even have a chance of being damaged until you hit the teens. Or if it was say like in the 50's one night then the next it was going to be in the 20's. A quick swing like that could possibly due damage. I have to bag 6 of them. But it is to much work to bag the ones that bloom on new wood. My five Blue Heavens died to the ground after this winter, but still bloomed great. I did not bag them. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 11:36PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Yes, it does. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 5:44AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

I agree with hydrangeasnohio.

The only thing is, once they get to be 5-6 feet tall (like my ES), how on earth do you protect them?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 9:31AM
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hydrangeasnohio(6a)

Ostrich you could always cut them down shorter to protect, but isn't the reason we bought the rebloomers is not to protect them...lol..... How did your Forever & Ever Red Sensations do this year? I bought two this year and I was less than impressed. I remeber you saying you loved them. Partly why I bought them. Do you have any pictures of them this year??

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 12:48PM
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hydrangeasnohio(6a)

Also Kenstar I double bag mine to guarantee sucess.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:35PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

hydrangeasnohio, I gave my Forever & Ever Red away last year!!! LOL! They were gorgeous but then they were in a pot. The only spot that I had really was not good for them - the soil was too dry. So I dug them out and then gave them to a friend.... sigh! Now the spot is occupied by a less fussy hydrangea - dear Annabelle! :-)

BTW, I saw lots of that Forever & Ever Lacecap at Lowe's this evening. They were all at half price... very tempting but then I have NO space left... what is one to do?

Did you say you're in Canton, hydrangeasnohio?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 10:46PM
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hydrangeasnohio(6a)

South Summit county close to Canton. I didn't know Forever & Ever had a lacecap? What do you mean by fussy? Yea I know what you mean about space. I have two last spots I am saving for the Incrediball & Invicibele. But I can not find them yet. I went to Lowes today to get the thornless rose a fell into temptation. I also bought another Annabelle, Quickfire and two more Peppermint Forever & Evers.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 11:24PM
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