Creeping Hydrangea on Oak trees

Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)February 6, 2013

A few years back I planted a creeping hydrangea near one of my oaks (in this case a healthy 80'er). A dear friend of mine, who knows a lot about these things (recently 'missed' in getting his certified tree expert designation) and who is a L.A. asked me what is more important? - the flowering (it has now creeped nearly 30' up the trunk with the caliper of the main hydrangea runner being 2" circumference) or the potential accelerated sickness or death to the tree. I know that I would never have ivy climbing up that oak, but thought that hydrangea wouldn't be a problem.

He says any plant like climbing like that will attract bugs which can eventually attack and weaken the oak - I recall this planting being very popular in Japan (though I don't recall the type of tree that it would run up).

Comments please: Will I eventually lose the oak if I allow the hydrangea to creep and prosper? Or is there no appreciable harm to the oak that will occur?

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I have a climbing hydrangea on a tree, and yes, the tree died...a sweet gum. I don't think there is a connection between the vine and the death of the tree, but you never know.

We haven't cut the tree down yet...our new winter project.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:20AM
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I have had a schizophragma moonlight climbing on a Liriodendron for well over 20 years with NO sign of a problem to the tree. It is gorgeous when in bloom and very fragrant.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:34AM
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The comment that "any plant climbing like that will attract bugs" is completely bogus. On the other hand, if the hydrangea is heavily branched and very dense around the trunk, the mass may retain moisture on the bark, and cause problems, depending on your environment. The 'constantly damp bark' is the thing that can start to rot the bark, and attract bugs, molds, and other problems.Check several places under the hydrangea, and see if the bark looks normal. If the hydrangea is loose enough around the trunk to allow lots of air flow, then don't worry about it. It won't be a problem.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 7:31PM
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