Cut back shoots to the last healthy bud. Pruning reduces the number of resources the plant needs. If your hydrangeas live in a cold climate, late fall weather is the perfect time for them to harden off, you can use this same time to prepare them to make it through the coming winter. They do flower on new growth so hard pruning if necessary will not affect flowering but can … That may be why she recommends a different pruning schedule. "Hydrangeas set flower buds for the following season in fall, so if you cut it back, you are cutting off all of the blooms," explains McEnaney.Instead, hydrangeas should be pruned in the spring—preferably past Father's Day, if you can wait that long. Exactly what you do depends on what kind of hydrangea you have and where it lives. Prune out deadwood and weak growth. Hydrangeas will grow well without pruning. Fall Blooming. When it's time to prune, focus first on removing dead or dying branches. Prune as far back as you want right above the first leaf joints. It will grow from that point onward, getting larger each year. But, the volume and appearance of the flowers won’t be as good as if you prune it back. Cut back after flowering to the second pair of leaves below the head in order to prevent seed developing. Lacecaps can be treated the same way or, as they are hardier than mopheads, can be pruned in autumn after the flowers have finished their late summer display. Prune in late winter and early spring. Pruning can allow more sunlight and air to filter through the trees and shrubs, which can help keep them healthy. This causes more energy and nutrients to be available to the plant. Read more about pruning hydrangeas, and learn whether your shrub blooms on old or new growth in “Pruning Hydrangeas” by Janet Carson. Hydrangeas should never be pruned in the fall.Why? Depending on your preference, you can make pruning cuts right down to the ground, as new shoots will be generated. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/should-cut-hydrangea-back-fall-97045.html When to prune hydrangea bushes varies and is not an exact science. If you don’t prune hydrangeas, they will flower just fine. Hydrangeas of this type produce flowers from side shoots, which can be pruned in fall after blooming has ceased. If you prune them in early spring, you risk cuting off the dormant flower buds. By pruning right after the blooms have faded, you allow the plant time to set buds for the next year. Annabelle Hydrangeas offer pure white clusters of flowers, enormous in size, from June through fall.These flowers can reach up to 6 feet in height and require space to stretch. you can prune them back in fall, but here in Minnesota, we like the winter interest the dried flower heads provide, so we recommend waiting to prune hydrangeas in late winter / early spring. 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