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What happened to my oakleaf hydrangea?

last month

Have you ever literally cried over damage done to your carefully nurtured shrubs

and plants by a well-meaning family member?

My newly retired spouse has been helping out around the yard since last fall. I walked my property today to find my (formerly gorgeous) 10’x10’ 20-year old oakleak hydrangeas now looking like the attached photo.

I see green buds here and there. I guess no blooms this year. Any one know how long it will take them to return to their former glory?

Sniff…



Comments (12)

  • last month

    Oakleafs flower on old wood, so you won't get any blooms this year. But don't despair, they grow really quickly.

    You might take this opportunity to clean up what you have, getting rid of any dead wood and generally thinning out the plant so more light and air can get in, leaving only the strongest branches. In the end your hydrangea will be healthier for it.

    Design Fan thanked Bookwoman
  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Next year will be better. It will take several years to come all the way back. No, they will not bloom full this year. I forbid mine to set foot in my flower beds, but it does not always work.

    He cut down my mock oranges while I was at work, because they were dead. They were not dead, it was January and they were dormant.

    I am sorry.

    Design Fan thanked Sherry8aNorthAL
  • last month

    I love your rocks!

    Design Fan thanked floraluk2
  • last month

    Thanks for the support! I will try to be patient while the hydrangeas regrow (and use it as an opportunity to thin them).

    I will also hide the pruning tools! :)

  • last month

    Oh no! I have one too and when we first moved in it mistakenly got the same haircut yours did. I think after two seasons it finally had grown and had beautiful blooms again. Don’t despair it will come back even more beautiful. (Since then, I have never pruned it)

    Design Fan thanked hudson1122
  • last month

    I did it myself to a small hydrangea one spring. Trimmed it down to 4" or so and then immediately thought, "This is not a PERENNIAL! What the h are you doing?!!" For spousal error, I am remembering the year I carefully transplanted approximately 20 foxglove "babies" into an area at the rear of my border, and then later the same day they were gone. My husband "weeded" them all.

    Design Fan thanked ellatiarella (SW Mich 6a)
  • last month

    @ellatiarella (SW Mich 6a) that is so funny as I had the same issue 2 years ago when my spouse weeded all the transplanted foxglove thinking they were weeds!


    @floraluk2 thank you! With slope and ledge, my landscaping has a lot of large rocks incorporated into it.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    My spouse, pulled out newly planted small blueberry bushes once and threw them away! I was horror struck. I have gotten over it and I can laugh about it now, but I still remember how I felt. lol So sorry about your Hydrangea.

    Design Fan thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • last month

    Oh Dear - back in my earliest garden days, I pruned a clematis for SEVERAL YEARS before realising it flowered on older wood and did not need the brutal annual hacking. And the weeds I have lovingly nurtured. But hey, as others have said, this is an opportunity for some rejuvenating thinning so that your hydrangea will return looking better, fuller and more floriferous than you could have guessed.


    Gods, I love your rocks too. Millstone grit was a feature in my northern childhood whereas I now live in a flat and watery fenland with nary a hill or rock to be seen...unless you go poking around under the topsoil to find some shelly crag or calcareous bedrock or glacial till. Flint though - we have flint.

    Design Fan thanked rosaprimula UK (Cambridge) Z8/9
  • last month

    Sad to say, the chopping fever strikes women too...A nice shiny blade and whooops.

    Design Fan thanked rosaprimula UK (Cambridge) Z8/9
  • last month

    Thank you for the advice (and condolences)! I am seeing green leaves on some branches and will prune this week.

    I will post a photo of the bushes after they leaf out a bit more. I will be sure to include the rocks and boulders. For the rock lovers here (of which I am one), I have an abundance given the property slope and the extensive granite ledge!