Get Ready For Hydrangea Pruning

Hydrangea being pruned

Woodland/smooth hydrangea being pruned

It’s just about time to engage in a gardener’s spring ritual and get ready for hydrangea pruning. We have had a few teaser days of 50 degrees but where I live in Connecticut the footing hasn’t been safe enough to go out and do much. But it has been a good time to get things ready.

I have been reading about people in the warmer areas of the country doing some pruning and although it makes me a little envious, I know enough not to rush the season. Despite this being March, I recall last year how much snow we had in March 2018 so I can be patient a little while longer.


If it’s too early to get outdoors and prune for you too, here’s what I would suggest. Get your tools in order. A good cleaning, oiling, and sharpening now will pay dividends later on. Make sure you have a good pair of gloves, a tarp, a bypass pruner, a lopper, disinfectant spray, and/or anti-bacterial wipes at the ready.
Get ready for hydrangea pruning by focusing on your tools

Get ready for hydrangea pruning by focusing on your tools


The best advice about pruning tools I can give you comes from Corona Tools, a U.S. manufacturer of garden tools and so much more. Corona has been around for over 90 years and not only do they know tools, but they know how to FIT a tool to you.

Take a look at these very helpful graphics from Corona of how to make sure your pruner is the right fit for your hands.

Get ready for hydrangea pruning by having the right size pruner.

Small hands should have a pruner no longer than 6 inches at most.

Get ready for hydrangea pruning by having the right size pruner.

A medium size hand can take a 7 inch pruner.

Get ready for hydrangea pruning by having the right size pruner.

A large hand needs an 8 inch pruner or more.

There’s nothing worse than working with a pruner that doesn’t fit your hand. And only you are the judge of that.


Fine Gardening ran an excellent article about Sharpening pruners which I recommend. It has a 10 minute video embedded in it on pruning tools with Lee Reich which is excellent.

Once you’re sure you have the right tools, then get them ready. They should be clean, oiled, disinfected and sharpened before you make that first cut.

If you have some time to cruise the internet, you can find lots of videos on caring for your cutting tools. The key is to DO IT! Not just this once but throughout the season as sap, dirt, and debris will always clog your pruners and dull the cutting surface. That translates into jagged cuts, a potentially less healthy plant, and more work for you. You might need to invest in some diamond hones and other small items but that investment will pay you great dividends over time.


So rest a bit more and get yourself and your tools ready. The days are getting longer, we have just turned the clocks and spring will soon be officially here. There won’t be enough hours in the day or energy to get everything done.



I see the excitement in my audiences as they get ready for a new season. You can always select “calendar” from my website to see upcoming speaking dates. Here’s where I’ll be for the balance of March:

March 13, Down To Earth Garden Club, Wood Memorial Library, 783 Main St., S. Windsor, CT (free)
Topic: Foolproof Hydrangeas, 7 p.m., call 860-644-8165 for more information.
Home Gardening Series, Anthony Veteran Park, 11 Olympic Lane, Ardsley, NY 10502 (fee)
Topic: Shrubs, The New Perennial, 10 a.m.
March 21: Thames River Garden Club, Waterford CT (fee)
Topic: Shrubs, The New Perennial,  1 p.m.

Hope to see you there.

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