When to Prune Oakleaf Hydrangea

(Question)

 

I have a 7 ft tall Oakleaf Hydrangea Hedge that has become too large and wide at the side of my driveway. It is obstructing getting the car into and out of the garage. When can I prune it? It is also leggy at the bottom in parts. If this is not the time to prune it I would also like to know if tying it back would harm the plant.

 

 

(Answer)

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) blooms on old wood. The buds are developed in the previous fall for the current summer’s blooms.  Pruning should be done after it flowers in June or July before it sets the buds for the following year’s blooms.  Buds can develop as soon as August, so make sure that it is pruned before then.   Dead stems can be cut down to the ground at any time of year and up to 1/3 of old leggy stems can be cut down after flowering to rejuvenate the plant.

You could tie back the branches that are obstructing the access to the garage without damaging the shrub, that way you will still get the flowers this summer but if you needed to cut off a branch now for safety or access you need to be aware that you will be cutting off this years bloom from that branch.