Are you as anxious to get outside as I am? Especially to engage in some late winter hydrangea care?
Despite my itchy fingers, I know I am in the HYDRANGEA DANGER ZONE™ (HDZ). Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time can rob me of my flowers for the season if I’m not careful.
So exactly what constitutes hydrangea care in late winter?
FIRST ITEM: DEER PROTECTION
The first thing I plan to do as soon as the temps are above 40 degrees and dry is spray deer repellent on my plants. There are deer tracks in the snow and I know they are hungry and foraging for just about anything. The prolonged snow cover all over the country might mean you need to do the same thing, and soon. You want to start early to convince them that your plants are not part of their salad bar. And you want to be sure the does don’t teach their fawns how to consume your plants.
There are many options for you, none of which are harmful to anyone or anything. Just be sure you are upwind when you are spraying. I like Deer Defeat, but have also used Bobbex and Liquid Fence successfully. The one caution here is to avoid walking too much on your frozen/thawing ground. This time of year, it’s all too easy to compact the soil to the long term detriment of whatever you grow.
Next is to get all my pruning materials in shape. That means sharpening my pruners, loppers, etc. It also means being sure I have enough disinfectant (in short supply these days) to keep those tools pathogen-free.
WHICH HYDRANGEAS CAN BE CUT NOW
For late winter hydrangea care if the footing is good and the weather is tolerable, I can maybe start pruning my hydrangeas that will flower on this year’s growth (new wood). I wrote about that in my last post.
But please do not cut anything yet on your other hydrangeas until you see some buds. You can scratch the stems to test if they are alive (they all look dead right now) so you’ll know what you need to remove. But I caution you against removing even those dead stems now. Remember that every cut stimulates the plant and unless you garden in very warm zones, you don’t want to do that yet.
STOCK UP ON SEASONAL SUPPLIES
I might even start to lay in a supply of fertilizer. Last year it ran out and I couldn’t replenish in time to meet my needs. Be on the lookout for garden centers that might have early season discounts to help you amass your stockpile.
TIME FOR A SOIL TEST?
If you haven’t done a soil test in a while, when you can dig it might be time to do just that. That will tell you what amendments besides fertilizer your plants will need to thrive this season.
HOW FAR CAN I GO?
And then you just need to be patient and wait for the season to develop. It might take a little longer this year as the February weather stats all across the country are startling:
- 6000 cold records were broken;
- February 15 was the coldest day in U.S. history;
- there was measurable snow in 47 of the lower 48 states;
- Seattle had its largest 2 day snowstorm in 50 years;
- Chicago had 12”+ of snow cover for 17 days straight, its longest streak since 1979.
Need I go on?
We are now in what I call “Speaking Season”. With the option of virtual presentations, anyone from anywhere can get in on the action. See below if you have any interest in attending/listening to some public discussions.
Saturday, February 27 (TOMORROW)
I am talking hydrangeas on the radio with Rick Vuyst out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rick is a top notch horticulturist and the winner of seven Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) awards for Broadcasting Excellence. He broadcasts from the studios of NewsRadio WOOD (1300 and 106.9 FM if you’re local). The show is also streamed live on IHeart Media for listeners from across the country.
The best link to the podcasts is here: https://myflowerland.com/flowerlandshow/. Flowerland Show is available on Apple podcasts and Spotify.
Rick owns a garden center called Flowerland which you can check out here: https://myflowerland.com/.
He also has a personal website at https://thankyouverymulch.com/ where you can read about him, his books, etc.
I’m looking forward to a fun time talking about our favorite shrub. Join us!
Saturday, March 13, 10.30 a.m.-12.30 p.m.
WEATHERPROOF HYDRANGEAS – ONLINE from the New York Botanical Garden
Class number 213GAR2720
Gardening in areas with wildly fluctuating temperatures and conditions can be a tricky business if you desire colorful and robust hydrangea flowers. Learn what measures you can take to improve the growth and growth frequency of these favored blooms, starting with right plant, right place to much more.
Cost: $55 for NYBG members, $59 for non-members. Click on the above link to enroll.
Saturday, March 20: https://ctmga.org/symposium-event-2021/symposium-2021-registration
Connecticut Master Gardener Association Virtual Symposium, 9.a.m. to 4 p.m.
Presentations: Enjoy two featured speakers in the morning and attend your choice of two of five breakout session speakers in the afternoon.
Special highlights: visit vendors, societies, and CMGA speaker book sale through our Virtual Event Bag, and participate in the door prize drawing.
Cost: $60.00 CMGA members; $90.00 non-members. Click on the above link to register by March 10.
As you can see I am part of the Zoom Boom, i.e., all my talks can be delivered virtually. Bookings are brisk as audiences have become well accustomed to this new world of ours. If you are interested, just click HERE and you will be taken to the “Contact Me” page of my site to begin our dialogue.
Hope you can make it to one of the above. If not, stay tuned as more public talks will be posted soon.
6 Secrets for Stunning Hydrangea Flowers
Get my FREE mini-guide with 6 fool-proof tips showing how to grow hydrangeas that produce the most amazing flowers.