There are strange white fluff particles on the leaves of our hydrangea bushes, and possibly also on the canes. They blow off easily in the wind, so they are not attached to the plant. We don't think they're the beginning of powdery mildew, but we're not sure. We're also wondering if perhaps we have a borer in the canes (see pictures). Can anyone take a look at these photos and let us know how we should deal with this if it is a problem?
Here's some background info:
We live in the Chicago suburbs. Last summer we planted these three small hydrangea bushes (white lacecap we think) in our yard...we got them as suckers from family. All three are on the southern side of the house, but one of them is shaded nicely by a nearby tree, and has grown larger than the other two. The other two are actually right on the southwestern corner of the house and are in full sun. These two looked sad throughout summer and fall, but the one in partial shade did a bit better and even produced a tiny bloom in fall. All three emerged with great zest this spring. So far they've seemed to be making great progress, but now we are worried that a bug or a disease is preparing to ruin everything!
Any advice out there would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you so much,