Ask a Question forum: Hydrangea Damaged roots

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Manchester
Enigma88
Mar 3, 2018 3:54 AM CST
Hi, I have a Hydrangea that belonged to my late grandfather who was a very keen gardener.
The problem is my dog decided to try and dig up the Hydrangea and damaged the roots in the proses. Is there any way I can save the plant at all, as it means so much to my mum and grandad.
Thanks in advance.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Mar 3, 2018 6:48 AM CST
Welcome!

How long had the hydrangea been planted? Is it showing any signs of stress from the digging (such as wilting, if it currently has leaves - I'm assuming Manchester, UK)? If it is not newly planted, it will probably be fine, and will grow new roots unless almost all the roots were lost. Can you post a picture to show us the extent of the damage?
Manchester
Enigma88
Mar 3, 2018 11:48 AM CST
Thanks for your reply. Yes it's Manchester, UK. The Hydrangea has been planted for 20 years. It does look a little worse for wear this winter. But I know little to nothing about plants so thanks again in advance.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Mar 3, 2018 12:56 PM CST
Poor plant! It looks like some of it was untouched, so it will probably grow back from there. I would replant the dug up bits with exposed root if they are loose, and if not loose then cover them with soil and do either of these as soon as you can.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 4, 2018 7:15 AM CST
Plus ! Fasten some wire to ground.
Well D'Oh! TO ME !!!
Im sure you know how dogs like to return to the scene of the crime.🙊
I'd like to know what gets in to them ?🤔???

I might prune her back about half, or every other limb. Dependent of root damage.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
luis_pr
Mar 5, 2018 7:06 PM CST
I would cover the roots with a good soil mix that has plenty of organic matter and then keep the soil as evenly moist as possible (no periods of dry soil followed by wet soil, followed by dry, etc). If you have bare roots from that fiasco, you can do the same but plant them away as if you were planting a brand new hydrangea of the same size dimensions. Put the bare roots in the ground, say 2 to 3cm deep only, cover with a good soil mix and water. Be prepared to wait a while for them to produce new growth. Do not fertilize until after you get new growth. Depending on their exact condition, they may take 1-3 years before they start looking great but it is possible that damaged plants bare roots could recover. A hydrangea whose top growth is removed typically recovers by producing new growth. Not overnight but slowly.

Remember: if you insert a finger into the soil (8-10cm) and it feels moist or wet, you do not need to water. If it feels almost dry or dry then water it. Hydrangea roots that absorb water are tiny, fibrous near the top 10cm.

The plant will decide to dry out any branches that it cannot save. You can eventually prune those stems down to the ground.

Alfalfa tea instead of water (sometimes) may be ok. Alfalfa contains triacontanol, a hormone which stimulates the growth of plant roots, enhances photosynthesis, and increases beneficial microbes.

Luis

PS - And, I agree, try to make sure that the pooches will not return to the crime scene to dig again. Block the area where the damaged plant is and the other area where any bare roots are planted.

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