winter covering of hydrangea

TCarpNovember 24, 2013

I have approximately 30 hydrangea in my new yard. The count includes different varieties. In the past, the previous owner of the property kept them warm through the Michigan winter w/ barrels & mulch. Which provided amazing blooms. We have had an early frost followed by several days of low 20 degree weather and I am concerned that we could go to great lengths to protect them when the moment has already passed. Can anyone tell me if barreling them will be productive still or if I should put my energies elsewhere? Thanks so much!!

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The roots should be fine, which is the critical thing. The stems and the flower buds at the end of the stems may be another story. If the flower buds were damaged on plants that produce flower buds from old wood, weel yes, that is bad... you will not get flowers in the Spring but, eventually, you WILL get more blooms even if you have wait as late as Spring 2015. Much earlier if they are rebloomers. If they bloom on new wood, the buds will not be developed until SPring so they will be fine. And if the stems were damaged, you will get new stems from the base or crown in the Spring of 2014. So they should not be in bad shape even though you MAY have to wait for flowers; go ahead and protect them.


PS - Paniculatas and arborescens bloom on new wood in the Spring so, temps going down to the 20s now should not affect the plant or the flower buds that have yet to be developed; they can hardy to Zone 4 or less! Serratas should be fine thru Zone 6; oakleafs thru Zone 5. Most macrophyllas should be good thru Zone 6; with rebloomers good thru Z5 or so.

This post was edited by luis_pr on Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 20:42

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 1:24AM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

It's difficult to say for sure but I think a few days of 20 degrees is OK for the buds, so my guess would be if you cover them now, you'll get blooms next year. I'm assuming you have macrophylla's since the previous owner went to the trouble of protecting them.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Joopster(5 (Chicago))

I still haven't got a chance to cover my. I have Glower Ember and lacecapes that should really be protected. I can only hope that these will come back next year.

Some other varieties like Incrediball, Pinky Winky, Vanilla Strawberry, Limelight, Forever and Ever and Endless Summer, I was told that they would do fine without protection. I don't know how true that is but I'm planning to cover them up anyway.... if i can get to it this long weekend.

This post was edited by Joopster on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 9:23

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:34AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

GE will do fine from the stand point of the plant coming back but the flower buds may have been affected. If so, it will leaf out but not produce blooms. I would still winter protect it asap.

ES and FE too. If their flower buds were affected then only their first & earliest blooms of the 2014 season would have been affected. So instead of getting early bloomage, you would get blooms in June-July. Ish.

The rest of them produce flower buds in the Spring so they will be fine. Good luck, Joopster.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Joopster(5 (Chicago))

Thanks luis_pr. I will try to get it all done this weekend. With twins toddlers it's so hard to get any me time.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 1:09PM
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If you're in zone 5 (and probably 6) and don't cover Endless Summer, you may not get blooms at all. If it dies to the roots, my experience is that you'll be luck to get sporadic bloom if any.

I just covered mine over the weekend. While I was concerned about it being a little late as well, all the leaves still hadn't dropped on them, and the buds still looked fine. (No guarantees, of course!)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Thanks for all the input. All supplies have been purchased and the covering begins today!!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:42AM
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