Plant ID forum: Hydrangea tree?

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Cleveland oh
Oct 18, 2018 10:38 AM CST
Is this a type of hydrangea? It's a tree approx 4 feet in height that gets these really long branches of flowers every year that last most of the summer. I usually cut them back to the main part of the tree at the end of the fall but then they grow this crazy and end up bent over. What can I do to make them less tall/droopy? I'm in Cleveland.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Oct 18, 2018 11:02 AM CST
I would leave more wood on top, and tie them for more support, till scaffolding grows more sturdy in a few years.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Cleveland oh
Oct 18, 2018 11:15 AM CST
I was hoping it wasn't going to be so big! It's right in front of a bay window that I count on for light and view.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Oct 19, 2018 10:25 PM CST
It is very common to have this flopping issue with hydrangea paniculatas. After 3 years or so in the garden, they should perform slightly better but some varieties will always do that. Protecting blooms from rain will help. The size of the bloom, the weight of blooms when wet, the number of blooms per stem and the strength of the stems are problem areas. Tree-form Pinky Winky, Quick Fire and White Diamond do not flop as much. The estimated height/width at maturity for each tree/variety should be specified on the plant's label. Paniculatas are very vigorous and can put a lot of growth in a single growing season. If it does not fit well with your plans and pruning does not help, transplant it elsewhere or give it to a neighbor or garden club. You can also switch to a shrub form of another paniculata. Bobo, Little Lime and Little Quickfire are compact; ck their estimated height/widths. There are tree forms of LL and LQF but you have to search for them (not terribly common). I have not seen a tree form Bob yet but technically, nothing says it is impossible to produce/sell one.
[Last edited by luis_pr - Oct 22, 2018 8:17 PM (+)]
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Cleveland oh
Oct 21, 2018 7:36 AM CST
I was hoping it wasn't going to be so big! It's right in front of a bay window that I count on for light and view.
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
Oct 21, 2018 7:59 AM CST
In my experience if you cut this kind of hydrangea right back "to the main part of the tree" as you mentioned, the new growth will be extra long and the flower heads extra big causing a lot of flopping. Since leaving it alone is also going to obstruct the window, the only thing I can think of is to sacrifice the tree shape and cut through the trunk to remove the top, maybe start with about eighteen inches from the ground and see what that does. This should turn it into a bush rather than a standard (tree). It won't look very nice until it produces new branches on the remaining stump and fills in, but it will ultimately give you more control over the height. A caveat, this is not something I've done but I have seen these hydranges create branches on the formerly bare trunk when the top is still on, so it should work. Luis, what do you think?

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