Hydrangea care in the fall – 5 main activities for your pet
Once a curiosity, the beautiful hydrangea is increasingly seen in summer cottages due to its gorgeous bloom. But in order to admire the lush inflorescences every year, it is important to provide proper care for the hydrangea in the fall. Originally from distant Japan, whose climate is much warmer and milder than ours, in the Russian expanses this perennial becomes finicky. Harsh winters, lack of moisture and poor soil will nullify all efforts. Hydrangea cannot grow by gravity, like a weed, and at the same time bloom. She needs regular grooming, and the lion’s share of the activities falls in time for the fall. It is important to carefully prepare the bush for wintering so that it enters it strong and healthy. And also protect it from frost, because not all types of culture will be able to survive our winters..
So, at the end of the growing season, you should do the following activities:
- water-charging irrigation;
- autumn feeding;
- preventive treatment;
- sheltering bushes.
Each procedure has its own characteristics, depending on what kind of hydrangea grows in the garden..
Hydrangea care in autumn – why do you need watering
These flowers love water, and everyone, without exception, is in dire need of it during the flowering period. And even after the last flower withers, the roots still need a lot of moisture. She will help them restore the reserves used up for numerous and large buds. A dehydrated root system will not be able to feed the aboveground part and will be vulnerable to frost. Therefore, in the fall, you should carry out a water-charging irrigation, well “watered” each bush. The older and larger it is, the more water you need..
The exception is wet and rainy autumn, when the earth is already oversaturated with moisture. Here another problem may already arise – waterlogging from natural precipitation..
If there are frequent showers, it is better to cover the soil under the bush with a film. The roots that have absorbed a lot of moisture will freeze, which will lead to the death of the entire bush.
Hydrangea care in autumn – how to feed the plant
When choosing fertilizers for autumn feeding, you can be guided by the general requirements for garden plants. This means providing the shrubs with potassium and phosphorus. They will help the hydrangea to regain strength after a violent flowering, which means that it will go into the winter healthy and strong. And they will also guarantee the next flowering and the growth of new shoots. A fertilized bush will lay more growth and flower buds.
At the same time, not only recommendations are preserved, but also prohibitions for autumn feeding. No nitrogen. Preparations with an increased content of it will not benefit a culture preparing for a dormant period. Moreover, at the moment they will only cause harm, giving an impetus to the active growth of young branches. Such shoots will definitely not survive the winter. They will freeze and weaken the plant itself, making it vulnerable to diseases and not only.
Cannot be used to feed hydrangeas and wood ash.
Yes, it contains a lot of potassium and is a valuable fertilizer. But at the same time, ash alkalizes the soil, reducing the level of its acidity. And this is unacceptable for hydrangeas, because they love acidic earth, and, conversely, need acidifying drugs.
It is better to apply potassium-phosphorus fertilizers twice, starting at the end of summer. The second feeding can be done in the second decade of September. It is convenient to use granular preparations. They are simply scattered dry around the bush. Or they water it with a working solution.
For the autumn feeding of hydrangeas, the following fertilizers are suitable:
- potassium sulfate;
- special complexes for hydrangea brands Fertika, GreenWorld, Bona Forte.
From organic matter in the fall, under flowering shrubs, you can make:
- infusion of bird droppings or mullein;
- herbal infusion.
Read about: Gaillardia long-term planting and care!
Preventive treatment of hydrangeas in autumn – when and with what
Spraying of shrubs is carried out after all the leaves have fallen off, having selected the appropriate preparation. In the presence of diseases, these will be fungicides. If the plant is attacked by pests – insecticides. For preventive purposes, a solution of Bordeaux liquid is used (3%).
Not only the entire plant is completely processed, but also the ground under it.
Specific features of pruning hydrangeas
Many gardeners prefer to prune hydrangeas in the spring and this is generally acceptable. But given the number and size of inflorescences, it is still worth carrying out this procedure in the fall. At least in relation to faded inflorescences – they must be cut off after flowering. If this is not done, in winter the bush will cover with a snow blanket, most of which will settle on dry flowers. Shoots may not be able to withstand such a burden and will break. Therefore, it is better to cut the inflorescences in the fall..
Also, before winter, it is worth carrying out sanitary pruning by removing the following branches:
- affected by the fungus;
- growing incorrectly;
- young growth thickening the bush.
In the early years, while the seedling is still young and is only in the process of growing the crown, no drastic actions are taken. It will be enough just to remove the broken and dry branches. Pruning an adult hydrangea depends on what species it belongs to..
Pruning and caring for paniculate hydrangea in the fall
A feature of this variety is that flower buds are laid on the current growth. Last year’s branches will not bloom, even if they are left and not cut. The plant also differs in appearance. It is taller, the color of the bark and leaves is darker. And instead of almost perfectly round inflorescences, pyramidal buds bloom on the tops of the bush.
It is difficult to harm this hydrangea by untimely pruning. All the same, flower buds will appear only on young branches..
Therefore, pruning panicle hydrangea in the fall can be done in two ways:
- only by removing dry inflorescences, and leaving the rest of the work for the spring;
- immediately cutting the bush completely, shortening the skeletal branches to 3 buds.
With full autumn pruning of shrubs growing in cold regions, it is advisable to leave spare buds. So, shortening is best done not up to 3, but up to 4-5 kidneys, in case they freeze.
How to prune a tree hydrangea in the fall
This type of culture also lays flower buds on young growth. In summer, white corymbose clusters bloom on its tops. After a while, small flowers begin to cast a green tint. Tree hydrangea is one of the most unpretentious and frost-resistant, especially the classic old varieties.
Like the paniculate, the tree-like variety can only be freed from dry inflorescences in the fall. Then the main pruning will be done in the spring. But, since it does not bloom on last year’s branches, you can immediately shorten them in the fall. Moreover, such a hydrangea is distinguished by its rapid growth and over the summer it grows a lot of young growth that thickens the bush. There is no point in leaving it – there will be no buds, but it will take away the nutrition from the young branches. And this will affect their flowering, which will be scarce and weak..
In the fall, branches from the age of 4 years are completely cut out from old bushes. And also zero shoots that did not bud in the current season. The main branches are cut for flowering, shortening to a couple of buds.
Treelike hydrangea can be shortened the most – to stumps 15 cm high.It grows quickly.
Features of pruning large-leaved hydrangea
The main difference between this type is the formation of flower buds only on last year’s branches. Therefore, the large-leaved hydrangea requires more attention, because it is necessary to preserve these shoots. Otherwise, the bush will not bloom next year. It is better to postpone all pruning procedures to spring time. In autumn, it will be enough to simply remove the faded inflorescences to lighten the crown. You can also cut out last year’s branches that were taken away in the summer. You don’t need to touch anything else. Both rejuvenating and sanitary haircuts are carried out in the spring.
When pruning inflorescences, it is important not to touch the upper buds on the stems. The cut should not reach them at least 1.5 cm.
Hydrangea care in autumn – is it necessary to cover
One of the last autumn activities is preparing for winter – shelter. In warm southern regions, it is often overlooked, especially when growing paniculate and tree hydrangea. These species are distinguished by good frost resistance. However, in the event of freezing, this will not affect either the general appearance or the flowering of the plant. Treelike varieties recover quickly, and panicle hydrangea also grows back. In addition, both varieties bloom on young shoots, which means they will not receive much damage.
It is enough to simply mulch the named species in late autumn. The bushes are spud with a mixture of peat, coniferous litter and humus. Such a blanket will serve as both root protection and fertilizer. And it will acidify the soil, which is only “on hand” of hydrangeas.
A completely different situation with large-flowered (or garden) hydrangea. She is the most capricious and heat-loving. When the branches freeze, the shrub will not bloom, because it lays the buds on the shoots leaving in winter. Therefore, large-flowered varieties must be covered.
You can start sheltering garden hydrangeas in the first half of October, as soon as the daytime temperature drops to 8 ° C. They are not afraid of damping, but they already suffer from the first frosts..
In order to create reliable frost protection:
- Cut the leaves at the bottom of the branches.
- Gently pull them together, fixing with twine.
- Wrap up with two layers of spunbond, securing it with a rope.
- A mesh frame is built that exceeds the height of the bush by at least 15 cm.It should also be slightly wider to form a void.
- Fallen leaves from the garden fall asleep inside the frame.
- Wrap it up with foil.
In the same way, oakleaf and serrated hydrangeas are sheltered for the winter..
So, how well a hydrangea will feel and how to bloom depends largely on autumn care. Before wintering, it is important to “water” and “feed” the bush so that it will enter the winter strong. Pruning correctly will help relieve stress and improve flowering quality. And, of course, low-resistant species definitely need shelter..