Pruning mophead hydrangeas – when and how

Pruning mophead hydrangeas – when and how

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It is important for anyone who has mophead hydrangeas to understand that these particular shrubs do not have to be pruned back at any time unless they have seen better days or are have grown a little too large. Removing the dead stems from an old bush is really the only pruning that you need to do to keep this plant healthy. And the dead blooms can be removed at any time. If your needs more than a little trim, read on to learn how to do it the right way to lower the risk of losing next years blooms.

When to prune

If your hydrangea is starting to get too old or it is simply getting too large you can choose to prune back the mop head hydrangea. When you are cutting back this particular type of plant you should remove the dead stems at any time of the year, on an annual basis. After your plant has reached five years old, you can remove roughly one-third of the living stems all the way down to the ground during the summer months to revitalize your bush but only do this on the older stems.

Additionally, if you need to prune back your plant because of its size you can do this in the middle of summer without harming the blooms for the subsequent year but rest assured that your shrub will almost always return to its former size.

Pruning methods

In order to prune back your mophead hydrangeas the right way, you should only prune the older stems or the dead flowers in the middle of summer, ideally before the month of August. Some experts stipulate that you can continue pruning while into August but if your hydrangeas have already established the bloom buds for the following year, you will damage them by waiting this long so this is well worth thinking about.

If you are trying to remove old wood, stems that have been there since the summer before the season in which you are currently, you can prune during the summer but if you truly need to make a serious change to the shrub you can prune well into the fall knowing that you will receive very few if any blooms the following summer.

It’s important to understand that pruning is not the same as removing your dead blooms. There are a few types of mophead hydrangeas that will bloom regardless of when you prune them, oh, and one type, in particular, is called Endless Summer. But for the vast majority of mophead varieties, it’s best to do your pruning in the summer before August hits.

When to remove dead hydrangea flowers

If you want to remove the dead flowers this is called deadheading. You can remove your old blooms at any time and it won’t harm the blooms you receive in the subsequent year. When you are pruning in June or July you can always remove the dead flowers at the same time. Just cut them along with your long stems. If you remove the blooms after August remove them with very short stems. This will protect against any bloom bud disruption for the following year.

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