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Hi Linda - I want to be sure that my two hydrangea bushes on the side of my garage do NOT grow out of control. What is the protocol for pruning them to keep them from growing too tall. I like my bushes at dwarf size. I would appreciate your advice! Thanks, Margaret


Pruning Hydrangea Bushes Hi Margaret,
To reduce the height of a full size Mophead or Lacecap hydrangea:

1. Prune shrub back by 1/3 (height and width) after it blooms in the summer. Remove any stems around the perimeter of the shrub that have rooted and have created a new plant. It's too late to prune at this time of the year (October and later) because you would be pruning off next year's flowers.

2. Remove the dead stems (winterkill) in spring (they should easily break off at the base of the stem). This needs to be done to keep the inside of the shrub open to allow proper air flow through the plant to deter disease and insects.

3. Do not remove the spent flowers in the fall. Recent research has shown that the old blooms provide protection against the cold winter air for next season's flower buds which are usually found very near the base of the old flowers.

Remember there are dwarf cultivars of all types of hydrangeas: Mophead, Lacecap, Oakleaf and late season Panicle Hydrangeas that would help cut back on the maintenance needed to keep a full size plant within your planting bed. I can get the dwarf varieties; let me know if you need help.

Thank you for your question.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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