Yes it is that time of year again, the time for winter pruning; a job that both Quin and I really enjoy. In our earlier life when we had an Arboricultural (Tree Surgery) business. We covered the full range of pruning from large trees, shrubs, to fruit trees, roses and even hydrangeas (those were the jobs I loved).
The winter here has been very mild, confusing for many of our plants. Recently though, we have had a few really good frosts, followed by gorgeous sunny days. It has been a good winter chill to kill some of those bugs, and hopefully delay the spring growth. I just want to get out into the garden to start the winter pruning and renovation – remove some of those unwanted plants to make room for new plantings.
We are sometimes asked ‘Why do we prune?’ & ‘Do we have to prune?’
There are 3 reasons that we like to prune plants:
- To remove dead and diseased wood.
- To improve or maintain the shape of a plant
- To increase flowering and fruiting – when pruning hydrangeas we aim to reduce the number of individual flower heads, enabling the plant to produce larger better quality flowers.
No it is not essential that you prune your hydrangeas each year. The new growth will emerge and eventually smother the old flowers. The bush will be covered in many small flowers.
Now is a good time to prune your hydrangeas; though if you are in an area that receives late spring frosts you may like to wait a few more weeks.
- Remove all dead, damaged or diseased material
- Remove thin, spindly, crossing or crowding stems
- Reduce the height of the remaining strong stems, keeping 1 – 2 pairs of fat flower buds.
The flower buds are usually in pairs near the top of the stem and vary in size with different varieties. The leaf (growth) buds are below these and are smaller in size.
The Hydrangea paniculata types like to be treated differently. These do need to be pruned each winter, and pruned quite hard to ensure that the plant puts out strong stems that can carry the heavy flower heads.
For the first 3 years after planting prune to create a strong framework of 3 or 4 strong stems in a vase shape. In subsequent winters remove all growths back to the base shape leaving 2 or 3 buds at the base of each stem.
Janica and Quin Amoore Woodleigh Nursery 300 Mountain Road RD 3 New Plymouth 4373
Tel 06 752 0830 | Cell 021 072 7394 (phone or text) | Email firstname.lastname@example.org