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Hydrangea question

I've been cutting the old, dead flower heads off, and cutting back to pairs of strong buds.  I have discovered two very thick and straight stems with no side shoots or flower head but lots of strong new buds on them.  Should I just leave them alone or are they something like the suckers you can get on roses.  I don't think hydrangeas are grafted, so suckers seem unlikely.

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  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964
    KT53
    These strong straight shoots normally represent last years new growth , and are best left untouched if possible .
    I was doing the same as you this morning for a client ; interesting how these shoots seem to emanate from the old woody central core of stems almost as if to 'fill-in' the gaps (so to speak) .
  • I have seen advice that the old flower heads of hydrangea give some protection to the new shoots from frost. I would have thought it would be too early in the year to be removing them.

    Also seen strong new shoots from the base of hydrangea plants that seem to be healthy and see no reason to cut them down.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,451
    Paul B3 said:
    KT53
    These strong straight shoots normally represent last years new growth , and are best left untouched if possible .
    I was doing the same as you this morning for a client ; interesting how these shoots seem to emanate from the old woody central core of stems almost as if to 'fill-in' the gaps (so to speak) .

    Thanks.  That's exactly where these shoots have appeared from.  I'll leave them alone and see what develops.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,940
    Only once did I cut mine down in early March,  never again, the frost blackened the bud tips and I had to do them all over again around mid April. 
    If you notice black buds, it’s the frost had them. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,458
    Agree with @Lyn it's way too early to prune hydrangeas.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,451
    Time will tell.  I do it around this time every year.  The mop heads aren't massive anyway so I don't believe they actually provide much protection for the buds.  Many of the buds are opening now anyway.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964
    Agree entirely with KT53 ; in my opinion and experience , the 'mop-head so called frost protection' is pure fallacy .
    I don't particularly rate these plants , but my wife likes them . They're pruned to first-bud every year in the Autumn after flowering .
    They flower prolifically without fail annually .


  • Never really bother pruning the mop head hydrangeas in my own garden except for removing the old flowers around April. I reckon they probably would still grow fine without having the limited frost protection the old flowers provide but see no harm leaving them on until then anyway. I just trim them off when I see the new growth coming through to allow it grow unrestricted. Only had flowering fail on some of them the summer before last which was much drier than usual and hydrangeas need water to do well. Probably would have flowered better if I watered them but have added more organic material and mulch around them since then so hooping they do better this year. My garden is a bit exposed to the north and east so very slow to remove dead material myself in general as it can help protect more delicate young growth by breaking the cold dry winds in the colder months but I think we all have to work with the conditions in our own garden so good luck with whichever methods are working for you.
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