|©Linda Nelson 2014|
Contrary to what many text books tell you as to the correct time for pruning the macrophylla species, April is ideal. Why? Letting the old blooms remain on the plant for the winter adds additional insulation and protection from the elements. It also discourages browsing deer from munching down the stems. By mid to late April you are able to differentiate the roundish, dense flowering buds from the slender, pointed leaf buds. This enables you to see what point to prune at, which is just above the highest flowering bud. The leafy buds can get pruned back just enough to shape the plant to your liking. I have successfully been using this method for my clients' hydrangeas as well as my own. I also prune my paniculata hydrangeas in the spring, and boy, do I prune them hard! Come late August, the flower heads on these guys are the size of footballs. If you live in deer browsing country and your property is not securely fenced to keep those prancing beauties at bay, get started on a repellant spray routine immediately. I prefer to use Deer Out because it is people and pet friendly. It's deer friendly, too; they just don't like the way it tastes. Experiment to see what product works for you. Most importantly, spray regularly and diligently. For some of you, like me, that may mean more often than the product's directions suggest; deer visit my yard on a daily basis.