Hydrangea pruning: general information
Pruning is a practice not too complex but which, however, must follow specific rules. First of all it is necessary to know the cultivation techniques and the species of belonging of the hydrangea that one possesses because each one possesses different needs and pruning techniques. The hydrangeas are rustic flowers with deciduous leaves that come from the Asian regions. The pruning of these specimens must take place during the vegetative rest and therefore between the beginning of the autumn season and the end of the winter one. However it is possible that during the vegetative development a pruning is necessary to keep the plants luxuriant and healthy, eliminating any dry, infected branches or dried flowers. It is good to know that pruning cannot always be practiced and if it does not take place with a certain practicality it can lead to the death of the plant. Usually, training pruning occurs after two or three years of plant life; until this time, only dry branches or those damaged by climatic agents must be eliminated, remembering to use well sharpened and disinfected shears.
As already stated previously, a good knowledge of hydrangeas is an excellent starting point to keep them healthy and luxuriant, to this must be added a pruning in specific periods and with techniques aimed not only at eliminating the problematic parts but also maintaining a certain shape and amount of flowers that sprout during the vegetative development. Today there are about 80 species of hydrangeas which differ not only in what are the cultural requirements but also in their aesthetic conformation. A general distinction is made for the coloring of the inflorescences. It varies from blue to pink according to the acidity of the soil (blue flower plus acidity, red flower less acidity). Regarding the cultivation requirements, hydrangeas prefer full light, a moist, mild and fresh environment. Pay close attention to exposure to light, high temperatures and the conformation of the soil. A mixed mixture of peat, gravel and organic fertilizer gives the hydrangeas the right soil moisture without creating harmful water stagnation.
Pruning must take place in a specific period by cutting the right branches. It is convenient to remember that these plants develop inflorescences on young branches, so it is necessary to cut the branches themselves in order to control and improve the budding of new and young inflorescences. At the end of the third year, a training pruning can be started, while before it was wiped off eliminating branches, leaves and dried flowers. The favorite months are those that go from October to early March. Pota paying attention to the number of buds because during the vegetative development, the new and too many flowers could tire and weaken the hydrangea; at the same time, avoid leaving only young branches with sprouts. Some prunings can be performed during the full vegetative development by removing dried and excessively large flowers; in addition to this the branches that obstruct the aeration of the inner part of the hydrangea, the dead branches, damaged or attacked by parasites can be eliminated.
The hydrangeas should be pruned only after the second year of the plant's age. In addition to this you need to use sharp, disinfected instruments and the cuts must be clean. Having said this we proceed with the basal excision of the branches with at least three years of age (they are recognizable because they have a very dark color); the branches that have already bloomed are cut off on two buds; the vigorous branches have a gem on the tip so they must not be cut. If you find yourself in front of a hydrangea of about ten years, you can put in place a rejuvenation pruning. It is enough to sever one third of the stems to the external base, allowing the internal ones to breathe, to be illuminated and to be able to develop at their best. In addition to the tools used to prune the hydrangeas, it is necessary to focus on the practice of cutting. To cut off the branches it is necessary to make a clean and oblique cut so as to facilitate the flow of rainwater on the wound, avoiding it to penetrate inside and cause internal rot or fungal aggression.
Pruning hydrangeas: Scissors for pruning hydrangeas
For the pruning of the hydrangeas you can use normal pruning shears. These must be well sharpened to ensure that the cut is as clean and precise as possible, avoiding tears and abrasions typical of blades that are not very sharp. The clean cut favors the healing of wounds and, unlike the inaccurate cuts, decreases the risk of infections and fungal attacks.
The cuts are, moreover, direct access routes for all pathogens inside the plant and therefore this operation, which is already very delicate, must be carried out trying to minimize possible damage to the plant.