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Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Posted by BiggerB 5B (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 22, 11 at 21:02

The photos below are the same 2 endless summer hydrangeas covered in the winter and uncovered. There is dramatic difference when you cover them in our zone.(Southern Ontario).

Wintered Covered

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Uncovered

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

I agree with you, BiggerB, and I pick "door #1", titled winter covered. Although right now, I would settle for either of them. Our extreme drought has done quite a number on hydrangeas locally. The optional winter protection helps some/more of ES's old wood flower buds survive winter so the first Spring flush that you get is better. Just wondering, what "signals" do you use to trigger covering them and uncovering them?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Up here in Southern Ontario Canada we usually only get one flush of flowers from the old wood and the odd flower on the new growth so its important to protect the old buds. I cover them with leaves in November before the snow comes which usually is in December. I uncover them in late April/early May when frost will usually occur infrequently. If frost is expected I re-cover them with blankets. I usually only have to re-cover a few times.Hope that helps. Here's a pic of some different endless summers that I have in the front of the house.Pic was taken the first week of July.

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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Yes...more blooms if you cover it up. Photo #2 also indicates drought stress. More watering is required!! They don't call them HYDRAngea for nothing.

As for your protection regime. They should be uncovered as soon as you can once the temperature is not expected to go below -15 Celsius. That way, they'll come out of dormancy with everything else and won't require special protection if a frost is expected.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Yes...Photo 2 needed some water. I have uncovered them earlier in the past and the leaves and buds were severely damaged by late frosts so I think I will continue my regime as I don't think I could get many more blooms on the plants by doing otherwise and it doesn't take long to cover them.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

How did you cover them?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

I hope this doesn't sound dumb, but when you "cover them with leaves", does that mean a mound right up to the tippy top of the plant, or about 6 inches up or what?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

The way I do it is a little different than some of the other methods I have seen used. I use cheap no-name Saran wrap and wrap the plants up starting at the bottom and work my way up to the top. As I am wrapping them I carefully stuff leaves between the Saran wrap and the branches.(4 or 5 inches of leaves). Try not to knock off any nodes or buds while you are doing it. When you get to the top gently pack the interior with leaves. When you are done you will have a plastic cylinder or tube filled with leaves. I usually cut a few little slits in the side of the plastic to let moisure out. In the spring I take a knife and cut the plastic wrap off and very gently remove the leaves. Be careful because the buds can come off fairly easily. I usually remove about 3 weeks before the last expected frost date. You must cover your plants if frost is expected or you will lose your flower buds and you will have wasted your time. Cover with plastic or a dense sheet or blanket. I have covered with thin bed sheets before and the frost got through and damaged the leaves and buds. Don't cut any dead wood or branches off until later in the season as the dead looking wood probably isn't dead and you will be cutting off some of the flowers. When I do it in a couple of months I will post some pics. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes per plant to cover your plants this way and about the same to uncover.Hope this helps.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

I live in Ontario as well and zone 5b and I completely agree that covering your hydrangeas in our zone over winter does wonders to those precious plants. I covered all my macrophyllas - two Endless Summer, Glowing Embers, Hamburg, Cityline Mars and Cityline Vienna for the first time last winter and had amazing blooms this summer. The Saran wrap is a neat idea, I used Burlap and mulch like crazy.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

All of this is wonderful information!! I live in south Texas, zone 9. I have 4 in ground planted Forver & ever Hydrangeas but they are less than a year old and about 1 foot tall. Does anyone know the best way to over wonter these small guys? I don't believe I can wrap them with saran wrap. I guess I should just cover them with leaves/mulch, will that be enough?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

  • Posted by Lindac Iowa Z 5/4 (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 10, 11 at 20:18

My endless summer is very tall.....can I remove the top foot or so before I wrap and still have good results?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

No special winter care would be required for these hydrangeas in south Texas....that is unless you have winter temperatures below 0�F?


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Here is Texas, our mild winters normally allow us to simply leave them well mulched (3-4" of mulch). They are hardy to about Zone 5, which means no protection is necessary other than mulching and watering. Regarding watering while they are dormant (in December or so), you can water once every two weeks or so. Keep that watering in mind as we are still in the middle of the exceptional drought. And the mulch will help sooo much. I have one that died to the ground but came back. And another one where it dried out half of the plant but it came back. Thanks to rains, extra watering and the mulch.

However, should the winter temperatures remain quite warm thru December, you might consider the extra step of covering non-remontant hydrangeas with chicken wire and leaves. Almost unheard of here. A few years ago, winter did not stop by at all until mid-December and it stayed for a week with sub-freezing temperatures. That did not harm many of the plants, surprisingly, as most of the stems leafed out normally in Spring but non-remontant ones sure had no blooms. Well, only two from those that year. The old wood flower buds got killed by the warm temperatures followed by sudden and very cold temperatures that kept the shrubs in active growth mode. I had not seen that happen in decades. ES's old wood blooms would have taken a hit too but the new wood blooms bloomed again.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

My endless summer is very tall.....can I remove the top foot or so before I wrap and still have good results?

Sure you can. Obviously the less you cut the better but the top part of mine usually freeze and die anyways because after the leaves settle I don't do a good job of topping them off with more leaves.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Thanks for the info on covering them. I'm going to try it and will watch for you pictures. I also planted an big daddy, I'll cover him and see what happens. I didn't really expect him to survive this winter, but you never know. To me it was worth it to plant him for the year to get those Big Fat Blooms!


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Just a tip about Saran wrapping. Tie off the start of the wrap to a thick bottom branch. That way you can adjust the tension so you can cinch into as tight of a bundle as you need. I'm going to do some by mounding leaves into a cone through the shrub, then cinching the wrap enough to create a comfortable cylinder, and lastly using stray leaves to top off the bundle.

Plastic sheeting might actually be a cheaper and sturdier way to go per square foot than Saran...


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Here's some photos of the saran wrapped hydrangeas. I bought the no-name plastic wrap for $1.79 for a 300 ft. roll at Food Basics. Plastic sheets or plastic paint drop cloths would work also but you would need to tie it around the plant. Obviously the smaller the plant the easier it is to wrap. Some of my plants are 5 ft high and I use 2 garbage pails of leaves to cover them. Another good method to use on small plants is to place a large leaf bag over the plant and rip open the top and fill with leaves.

FINISHED PRODUCT (MOST ARE 3 TO 4 FT TALL)

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UNWRAPPED PLANT
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PILE LEAVES ON PLANT AND GENTLY STUFF LEAVES IN BETWEEN BRANCHES AND ALSO AROUND BOTTOM.(THE MORE LEAVES THE MERRIER)

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START WRAPPING UP PACKAGE. START NEAR THE LOWER MIDDLE AND WRAP TIGHT ENOUGH THAT THE WRAP CLINGS TO ITSELF. WRAP ALL AROUND AND FILL THE TOP WITH MORE LEAVES.
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HERES THE SMALL ONE WITH A LEAF BAG OVER TOP OF IT AND A HOLE RIPPED IN THE TOP AND FILLED WITH LEAVES.

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Remember there are many methods to cover your hydrangeas so look around and maybe you will find one you like better.The important thing is to cover with leaves or whatever and don't remove the covering too soon. Spring frost can kill the flower buds so if you do uncover make sure you cover them if frost is expected.


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

I've not heard of this method of wrapping plastic wrap around the plant, but I think it would be easier than the wire cages I used last year. Would a cinch-style white kitchen trash bag work? Or does it need to be clear plastic?

Also, I was thinking about using the flattening method with cardboard this year. Does anyone prefer that method over wrapping?
Thanks for the great pictures, BiggerB!
Karen


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Hi Karen, good timing on your question about flattening as I just completed mine. I tried wrapped & stuffing with leaves, but it didn't work well for me because as the weeks wore on, the leaves flattened. Eventually, the tips were blowing in the frost bitten air.

I've had luck with flattening under cardboard. I tend to OW my Nikkos but not ES (though I did do one ES this year that was a transplant). I flatten with cardboard, weigh the cardboard down with rocks and cover with either mulch or oak leaves. These are 2 Nikkos getting ready for their rest. One is all covered and one was about to get leaves dumped on it.

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Glad I took care of this now, because we have a snow storm coming in tomorrow. Our second one this fall. Ugh.

BiggerB, your hydrangeas are gorgeous!


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Just now seeing this, mehearty! Thanks for the photo. I ended up flattening all of my smaller ones, but I couldn't wrestle my bigger one in place with the cardboard. I would have needed DH's help, and he was at work. I still haven't done anything to it yet, but we really haven't had any bitter cold weather yet either. That said, I don't know if I'll get to it this year. I may just have to deal with some winter kill next summer...:(
Karen


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Mehearty, How do you flatten them without breaking the branches? I have wanted to try this method but am afraid to for that reason. By fall the branches are usually really dry. Also, would I need to be extra careful unflattening them after? Will the buds be tender to the touch? How do you do it? Thanks!


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

Hello everyone:)
Very interesting ways to over winter your hydrageas! I never would have thought to flatten them down, scary! lol

Luis_pr replied to my post on this thread back in October about the mild winters in south texas, I am south of Houston. He mentioned not having to do anything to the hydrangeas during the winter.

My Forever & Ever's are still green and pretty much look like they looked back in october. They still have the leaves on them, with the exception of red coloring on the outter edges of the leaves. Also the blooms have turned from brown to a very pretty maroon. I even have a recent bloom thats been holding strong since the begining of december and it is still pink as can be. I have 4 in ground, planted in the front of the house, and 4 more in pots on the porch above them.

There is another house about a 10 minute drive away that has some type of hydrangea in the corner of their home. It seems like a mature plant, probably about 3-4 feet tall, and it has lost all of its leaves and is just a pile of sticks. Shouldn't mine look this way too?

Should I be worried that mine (less than a foot tall, about a year old) have not gone dormant? what do I have to look forward to this coming year? We had one night of freezing temps for about 6 hours and maybe a few nights in the 40s. Very mild winter, plently of rain so that I have not had to water.

Any advice? Thank you:)


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RE: Endless Summer Winter Covered vs Uncovered

I used to cover my ES but never got any blooms. Last year I didn't cover and both bushes bloomed like crazy. This year they are covered by new sprouts already. Go figure.


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