Protecting hydrangea in zone 5b Ohio

kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)November 17, 2009

I've read a lot on this forum about winter protecting hydrangeas, especially hayseedmans thread lol. But, I'm wondering, if I cage the hydrangea with chicken wire and burlap around it (both of which I have already done), do the leaves have to be in plastic bags or can they be loose shredded leaves that I just stuff in there?

Most threads tell of surrounding the plant with those black plastic bags. I could do that but do I have to have the leaves in bags?

This is my first hydrangea and I want to protect it right. It's a F&E Blue Heaven, which I know can die back here and come back next year with blooms, but it blooms on new wood and old, and I would like to try saving the old buds too as our growing seasons pretty short.

Thanks all


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Hi Kentstar - My zone is a bit lower than yours & have Nikko as my most meticulously, Winter protected, Hayseedman style (not a single bloom despite!) I don't think you really need to bag leaves for an F&E ... I assume that your young F&E-Blue Heaven's canes are still not difficult to bundle up loosely & covered with dry fallen leaves before wrapping with burlap. The cage surround then, can be filled with more dry collected fallen leaves (or pine needles) ... add more as they mat down. I'd also water a few times during dormancy, if there's not enough snow (igloo-like protection & source of moisture). For my marginal bloomers I wrap black landscaping-fabric around the cage, to cut down on the devastating Winter winds from Canada - very famous in our area.

Our past Winter was quite a challenge to many plants, bushes & even trees because of the huge fluctuation in temps, as well as prolonged warm, sunny days to boot. A few of my protected Hs did not produce & the ones we expected to be reliably floriferous, produced less. However, others (all Lacecaps) defied all those threats, as if they just slept through it all, bloomed more than the previous year ... I did heavily mulch their bases!

I posted some of my pics in another thread ... wonder if you had a chance to see how I did my over-wintering? The cardboard box method also works very well. *Hydrangeas Hydrangeas* site has a good description of it ... I've tried it on younger shrubs.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 5:33PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Awesome site, thankyou! I've got it bookmarked now lol. I think I might have to try that caged in styrofoam lid contraption! All I would need is the styrofoam lid. I did wonder about whether the heavy snows we sometimes get would weigh down the leaves in the cage, exposing the buds.
Well, good. It's put to bed now, and we'll see what we shall see. I've got her nice and snuggly tucked in for winter. I did end up using oak leaves and pine straw. I do have extra leaves put aside for settling, but I think I only have four more bags of shredded leaves. Yikes, I hope now that that will be enough! lol
Maybe I'll have to collect a few more. ugh!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 5:59PM
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Hi Kentstar - Congratulations!!! Now you can come over & help me put together my 12 wire cages ... working with gloves is quite trying to patience as one folds end wires to hold together!!! Â:(

I still have 'til Thanksgiving to get this annual musts, accomplished ... bags & bags of dried fallen leaves awaits patiently on our porch for this great adventure!!! Â;) IMHO ... unshredded oak leaves won't mat down as easily, pine needles, as well, I find excellent pads around the canes, inside the burlap wraps ... shredded leaves are excellent mulch - holds moisture & protects the stems close to the surface. Our devastating *Killing-Winter* of '08-'09 decimated many of the old canes of my Nikko & Lacecaps that I very seriously protect & yet, all but Nikko & LOD, were quite floriferous this season ... the stems barely on the ground surface, protected by the heavy mulching save this '09 season of blooms!!!

I spent these past weeks, since 23 Oct dealing with this *Bumper-Crop-Year* of my beloved Ginkgo Tree ... raking, scooping, sweeping, nit-picking, bagging, etc, etc, etc ... 4+weeks of must-do, lest I'll be lost in a Ginkgo jungle & this prolific *Prince turned Duchess* will be removed from the *Red list of endangered plants by the IUCN*

In case you're curious to view my endeavor, I posted in the Trees Forum - *So you think you really like to grow a Ginkgo Tree?* or so thread! I can breathe a bit easier now that my beloved Prince/Duchess is naked of golden cloak & just a hundred, perhaps, babies still holding bravely in her arms!

Here is a pic of the last 20 gallons hauled away yesterday ... Of the 31+ bags I singlehandedly enslaved on ... I'm not called *Glut for Punishment* for nothing, by my family!!! Â;) or Â:((( for smelling of Wintergreen-aching-back-relief overnite! ugh!!!

Again Congrats & Happy Floriferous 2010!!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:47AM
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Oooops - Sorry Kentstar, forgot to paste link ... here it is ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Last 20+ gallons! Whew!!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:55AM
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