Hydrangea formation and pruning
Inimitable hydrangeas with their lush caps of inflorescences, unique colors and a particularly massive crown never go out of style. They are loved not only for their extraordinary beauty and ability to settle in shading and atypical soils. Among these beauties there are lianas, but the most widespread are shrubby hydrangea species. But in order for the flowering of any bush hydrangea to become one of the most striking events of the garden season, you will have to try and provide the plant with thorough care. Watering, top dressing, mulching the soil for hydrangeas is also very important, but the main guarantee of the health and beauty of flowering is pruning.
- Why do I need to prune hydrangeas?
- How to prune hydrangea?
- Duration of trimming shrub hydrangeas
- Formative pruning of young hydrangeas
- Trimming adult bush hydrangeas
- Cardinal rejuvenation
- Hydrangea care after pruning
Why do I need to prune hydrangeas?
Hydrangeas growing in the form of shrubs are able to survive without pruning. But attractive not only from the point of view of flowering, but also from the standpoint of the beauty of the crown, without it they would not be. Hydrangeas, for which even one year of formation and pruning have been missed, take on a neglected appearance, become sloppy and groomed, not to mention the fact that the flowering quality of such hydrangeas decreases literally exponentially. The size of the inflorescences depends directly on the pruning.
Pruning hydrangeas need:
- to maintain health;
- for a beautiful silhouette and the formation of a lush crown with dense foliage;
- for magnificent and powerful flowering;
- constant rejuvenation and preservation of decorativeness from year to year.
Thanks to pruning, plants produce powerful shoots, give a qualitative increase. And the need for cardinal rejuvenation and emergency formation will never arise.
How to prune hydrangea?
A different approach to pruning shrub hydrangeas is determined by the type of plant.
The type and time of pruning hydrangeas directly depends on the type of plant and the type of flowering. Only one of the hydrangeas is charming large-leaved hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla) - blooms on last year's shoots (more precisely, on young shoots that grew from the upper buds on last year's branches with flower buds in the autumn). Her buds are laid at the ends of the branches, and if the bush is trimmed according to standard techniques, the plant will not bloom at all. Pruning this plant comes down to sanitizing and cutting last year's inflorescences.
Luxurious ground hydrangea (hydrangea heteromalla), which, despite its name, grows in the form of a bush: wide, rounded, lush; blooms on the shoots of the current year. But its pruning differs from the pruning of other shrub hydrangeas: for this, plants carry out only a slight shortening of long branches, which allows them to thicken the bushes and achieve more abundant flowering.
All other hydrangeas bloom on the shoots of the current year and are pruned according to classical techniques. They include:
- classic favorite gardeners panicle hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata);
- inimitable hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens);
- serrated hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla forms of serrata) - despite the fact that the plant is considered as a form of large-leaved hydrangea, in order to obtain a more effective flowering, it is better to prune it like ordinary shrub hydrangeas;
- oak hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia);
- radiant hydrangea (hydrangea radiata);
- ashen hydrangea (hydrangea cinerea);
- rough hydrangea, or rough (hydrangea aspera);
- Sargent hydrangea, orSargenta (hydrangea sargentiana).
Duration of trimming shrub hydrangeas
In order for garden hydrangeas blooming on the shoots of the current year to flourish, they need to be cut with an early vein. Pruning should be done as early as possible so that as much time as possible is left for the development of flowering growths.
Traditionally, hydrangeas are pruned in March-April, being guided by the swelling of growth buds. Before they begin to appear, pruning can not be done: the kidneys will indicate the location of new shoots and help to prune them correctly. Trimming with pruning should also not be: the time remaining for the development of new branches will not allow hydrangeas to bloom in typical periods and prepare for winter. It is believed that the first tree-like hydrangea is cut, but panicled like later pruning.
Despite the fact that large-leaved hydrangea blooms at last year's growth, pruning for it is also carried out in the spring, as early as possible. But her character is fundamentally different from pruning the rest of the bush hydrangeas.
For hydrangeas in need of winter shelter, pruning is often carried over to fall. But before shelter, it is better to carry out only the shortest possible shortening of the shoots, and repeat the full pruning in the spring.
Hydrangea pruning components:
- sanitary clipping, or cleaning - removal of old, damaged, weak, dry shoots, last year's inflorescences;
- formation - pruning, aimed at regulating the density and shape of the crown, in young plants - the formation of skeletal branches;
- stimulating or regulatory pruning - an annual haircut aimed at obtaining more powerful flowering;
- cardinal rejuvenation is a radical pruning, which is carried out instead of the other three components on old, neglected, oppressed hydrangea bushes.
Removing faded inflorescences in the fall is a step that you can skip. Hydrangea inflorescences will change color with the advent of frost, as if purple powder was scattered on them. And in the winter garden, under the snow, the “caps” look simply charming. If you want to decorate the garden with dry hydrangea inflorescences, you can carry out pruning of last year's inflorescences along with the main pruning.
Formative pruning of young hydrangeas
Formation, or initial pruning, is a very important task that must be completed in the first 2-3 years after planting a shrub. Hydrangeas, which do not undergo formation, will not be able to form a crown with evenly spaced skeletal shoots, and their strong branches, most often, are absent, grow incorrectly.
In the first year after planting, the shrub should not interfere with adapting, creating conditions for severe stress. In order not to "distract" hydrangea from the main goal - the formation of a powerful and well-developed root system - pruning is easy, regulating, just sanitary. All damaged and weak shoots are cut off on seedlings during planting, and the next pruning is postponed until typical dates in March-April. Planting "under the stump" simplifies the formation, but worsens the growth and flowering and experienced gardeners have long abandoned it. The first pruning on powerful, large bushes is carried out to 1/5 of the length of the branches, and on small seedlings, shortening is carried out by only 1/3 of the shoots.
In the second year after planting, the first strong pruning of bushes is carried out. For hydrangeas in early spring, it is necessary to drastically shorten last year's growths, leaving only 2-3 well-developing buds over the old part of the stem. During pruning, the skeletal base of the bush is created from strong shoots forming a uniform crown and directed outward.
Trimming adult bush hydrangeas
From the third year, they begin the usual pruning, including:
- pruning stimulating powerful growth of flowering shoots (last year's growths on plants shorten to 2-4 buds, from which new strong flowering branches will grow);
- pruning of the frozen ends of shoots, damaged, dry branches;
- thinning and formation: when thickening, active growth of branches inside the crown, “extra” shoots must be removed without letting the bush grow too denser (special attention is paid to small shoots that are not blooming and directed to the center of the crown, as well as zero shoots that go from the rhizome and too weak for flowering);
- anti-aging pruning: on the shrub, it is advisable to leave 6-10 strong shoots annually (of which only 2-5 branches from last year's growth), removing the oldest (3-4-year-old) shoots to the base and necessarily cutting to the ground branches that give weak young gains.
Old hydrangea bushes, as well as those plants that have suffered from diseases and pests, are in a neglected or depressed state, can be rejuvenated in a more radical way. Such hydrangeas are cut "to the stump", affecting not young growths, but perennial wood.
Usually, for hydrangeas, the method of cutting to a height of 50-80 cm is used. After rejuvenation, hydrangea will miss one flowering season, but then the bushes will resume again and form an attractive crown.
Hydrangea care after pruning
A mandatory component of caring for shrubs that have undergone pruning, in fact, is only fertilizing. Thanks to the application of fertilizers, it is possible to stimulate the powerful development of new shoots, to prevent the growth from stretching and thinning. For such top dressing, it is better to use full mineral fertilizers.
But it is equally important to carry out mulching for hydrangeas, which is better to complete the pruning process. Compost, manure, peat, humus are perfect for creating a thick layer with a height of 5 cm.