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When these beautiful hydrangeas got too big 3 years ago, I cut them down to half their height. Now, all I have gotten for the last two years is sticks and leaves, no blossoms. If it's shock, shouldn't they have gotten over it by now? What can I do? Ann


Hydrangea Damage Hi Ann,
The Big Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is susceptible to the late frosts that we get in Southeastern Connecticut in March and April. This past winter, we had some very cold, windy days that further reduced the actual air temperature. The flower buds for the upcoming season are doomed once the air temperature drops below freezing. That's why you have no flowers this summer. The last five years have been particularly hard on the Big Leaf Hydrangea. If I recall, 2016 was the only year in the recent past that the hydrangeas were not affected. Wrapping your hydrangea with a good quality burlap for the winter will help protect them from the late winter frosts. Around mid-November, pound in wooden stakes along the edge of the bed and attach the burlap on the outside of the stakes. Fill in all around the hydrangea with dry leaves for insulation (from the base of the plant to the top of the plant).

Leave the protection in place until the middle of April. You will know when it's time to remove the burlap when see the new hydrangea leaves emerging from the stems. Fertilize your hydrangeas at this time with a slow release, organic fertilizer like Flowertone and keep them well-watered and you should have some beautiful hydrangeas in the summer. Also, remember to remove the dead stems within the shrub, they should break right off at the base. This is important for air circulation and overall health of the hydrangea.

Good Luck.

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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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