travis0017
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Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I just bought a home that has the shrubs pictured below. I am completely new to gardening, so I asked around and did many searches online. The closest I can figure for the white blossomed one is it is either a Hydrangea or a Snowball Viburnum. From what I have read, depending on which it is, I am supposed to prune different ways and different times (apparently if you don't prune Viburnums immediately after flowering, they skip a season?).

Could someone please confirm what these are? Do I prune these now? How far down?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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luis_pr
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

Hello, Travis. Hydrangeas and vibirnums (especially the vibirnum snowflake) can be confusing. However, in general, vibirnums flower very early compared to hydrangeas. VS is currently in bloom here while hydrangeas are just waking up from their slumber.

The first photo appears to have panicle shaped leftover blooms. This suggests the shrub may be a Hydrangea paniculata or H. quercifolia (also known as oakleaf hydrangea). Oakleaf hydrangea is easily recognizable and distinctive from a paniculata because the leaves are larger and shaped like oak leaves. If it is one of those two hydrangeas, it should bloom much later, in July perhaps (not sure where you are located?).

You can leave these dried out blooms "on" and let them fall on their own or cut the little string that connects the bloom to the stem. That is called deadheading, not pruning. Do not cut the stem though. Hydrangeas develop invisible flower buds usually at the end of the stems at different times of the year. Some have already done so be careful pruning stems or you will loose 2015 bloomage. So, without knowing for sure which plant you have, I would err on the side of caution until you find out FOR SURE.

The second picture was more difficult. I could not tell from the dried out blooms what it is. I speculated but could not decide. Maybe this is the vibirnum??? A photo of the bushes in bloom would help greatly. And information about when the blooms open.

In general, there is usually no need to prune hydrangeas so you could skip pruning the majority of the time. Provided that they are planted where they can attain they advertised size at maturity, you normally just leave them alone or do light pruning such as removing stems that cross or that are dead.

But right now, it is impossible to know which ones are dried out dead from the picture. Observe when they leaf out and then remove any stems that fail to leaf out. Rejuvenation pruning is a form of pruning sometimes done on older Hydrangea macrophylla bushes (called mopheads and lacecaps) when they get very large and when they bloom sparingly or smaller than before. But your shrubs are too small to need that.

In either case (hydrangea versus vibirnum), cut crossing stems and leave them alone, check in a month (?) when they have leafed out and then prune any stems that failed to leaf out.

The following hydrangeas develop invisible flower buds in July-August: H. macrophylla (referred to as mopheads or lacecaps), H. serrata (smaller than H. macrophylla with serrated leaves) and H. quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea). These should be pruned after they bloom or no later than the end of June.

The following hydrangeas develop invisible flower buds 1-2 months after they leaf out in Spring: H. paniculata (panicle shaped blooms and small leaves compared to others) and H. arborescens (the best known one is called Annabelle).

If you live in the northwest side of the country, there is one more type called H. aspera that is common over there and has leaves with fuzz/hairs that grows on the leaves; it develops lacecap blooms most of the time but there is one known variety whose blooms are mophead like. These u s u a l l y get large 10' by 10'.

Visit this website with lots of hydrangea information, including a page that helps identify the common hydrangea varieties (yes, pictures included):
https://hydrangeashydrangeas.com/identify.html

Regarding vibirnums, you also need to prune lightly, usually best to do that after they have bloomed but before they set seed if the variety sets seed. You can also pinch the stem endings to get a fuller bush. I have left some large ones in the yard alone (ie, no pruning) and shaped them into a tree shape. They must be 12' or taller by now. Here is more info:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamen ... runing.htm

Does this help?
Luis

LIcenter
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

The second photo looks like some type of Joe-Pye weed.
https://www.perennials.com/plants/eupato ... y-joe.html

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applestar
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I'm seeing sedum in the 2nd photo. See the new frosty blue-green shoots starting to grow at the base?
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LIcenter
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

applestar wrote:I'm seeing sedum in the 2nd photo. See the new frosty blue-green shoots starting to grow at the base?

That was my first thought also, but by this time of year mine look a little more mushy than that pic. Won't be the first time I was wrong. :D

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sweetiepie
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I think he is from MN. So maybe sort of in the same zone as me and the grass isn't even green here yet, we keep getting snow.

LIcenter
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

Okay I just blew up the pic, and I am wrong again. Sedum it is!

travis0017
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

Thanks everyone! What a great community here.

So it seems consensus is that the first photo is A form of Hydrangea? And I should NOT cut far back on the stem, but deadhead the old blooms? A couple appear to be getting quite large for my yard, so cutting back a blot would be nice if it doesn't hurt the plant.
Thanks again for all the responses/your expertise!

travis0017
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

...also, please let me know if anyone knows when/season I should be pruning or deadheading in Minnesota. Apparently, that answer is specific to the type of plant?

luis_pr
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

Yes, the first photo appears to be a hydrangea and you can deadhead the blooms now or let them fall when they want to. Deadheading can be done at any time. There is no need to prune unless you see stems that cross and want to prune them now when you can see them. Stems that do not leaf out can be prune at ground level once the plant has attained a nice leaves. If dried out looking stems have not leafed out by mid-May then prune them.

TXirislover
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I have 3 hydrangeas and I cut them down to where I saw green nubs. :) This was done a month ago. Now today they are green and healthy and I can't wait till they start to bloom.

luis_pr
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I have one unknown lacecap that is already on the broccoli stage but the other macrophyllas are not there yet. Ditton for the oakleaves. And even more ditto for the paniculata

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I agree with sedum for the second picture, which is a perennial, not a woody shrub. The sedum can be cut down to the ground now.

Pruning/ cutting back if you want the shrub to be smaller won't hurt the hydrangea. But if you prune before it blooms, it probably won't bloom this year. You can cut it back hard to make it shorter or you can just cut 1/3 of the stems off at ground level to thin it out and rejuvenate it.
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

I agree that the second is a sedum. You can cut it to about 2 inches from the ground.
Also - leave the hydrangea - if the dried flowers you can take them off - lots of good advise of how to do it. Don't prune until you see what they are and if you like them. If you start cutting them without an idea of what they are you might take off all the blooms for this year.

Hydrangeas only grow so tall! They are not trees that keep growing taller and taller each year. I think they are much more beautiful if they are allowed elbow room to grow. Some plants like roses need to be pruned to bloom big and beautiful. Hydrangeas don't need this for beautiful blooms. Once they are in bloom, you can prune - if you must - by cutting some of the blossoms to enjoy in the house or as gifts. When you do cut blossoms, make a cut just above a leaf node and the stem as long as you need for a vase.

About the sedums, if you like them - color or size once they grow to about 6-8 inches and are fairly large plants about 6 inches or more each, they are really easy to divide and you can get at least two or three plants from each one. Sedums do like to be divided - think of it as root pruning! lol. Just make sure that each new plant has roots and a couple of new plants. Give them a good soaking - then not too much - and they will bloom their heads off this summer. If you are very adventurous, each leaf when they get big - middle of summer - will root in sand and you will have lots and lots of new plants. Be sure to let the leafs 'heal' before planting in sand. Healing means that you leave them out of water or soil for a day or two - they will callous over and the stick only 1/3 or so of the leaf in the sand.

travis0017
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Re: Are these Hydrangeas / How do I prune?

Thanks everyone. These were all very helpful. Much appreciated!

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