How to cover a hydrangea
You have become the proud owner of one or more hydrangea bushes, and luxury and beauty have settled in your garden. White-pink-blue hats of magnificent colors have delighted you all summer. And I would like the plants to become healthier and stronger every year, the inflorescences to be larger and brighter. To do this, they need to safely winter, and you need to help them with this.
The first condition for a good winter is health
In order for your hydrangeas to safely survive the winter months, you need to remember a number of simple rules.
From the beginning of August, it is unacceptable to feed flower bushes with nitrogen fertilizers so as not to provoke the growth of young shoots. Such shoots will no longer have time to mature, will be vulnerable to frost and will not give good flowering in the future.
But it is worth preparing a phosphorus-potassium cocktail for your pets in early autumn — for 10 liters of water, one spoonful of superphosphate and potassium sulfate. This composition will help the plant to lay buds and prepare for the winter dormancy period, and it will give its roots the strength to safely survive the cold.
In September-early October, watering of hydrangeas should be completely stopped.
Before frost, it is recommended to remove the lower leaves. This contributes to the lignification of the shoots and their better wintering. In this case, the upper leaves must be left to protect the kidneys from frost.
It is preferable to mulch the soil around the bushes with peat or coniferous litter.
Types of hydrangeas: what is important to know for choosing pruning
Another step in preparing for winter is pruning hydrangeas. In order to do it correctly and for the benefit of the plant, you need to consider what kind of variety growing in your garden belongs to.
In total, there are 3 types of hydrangeas:
All varieties of tree and paniculate hydrangeas bloom on the shoots of the current year, which means that they are shown autumn pruning. From 2 to 4 buds are left on the branches, and everything else is removed, which contributes to:
- bush rejuvenation;
- cleaning the plant from weak shoots;
- facilitating the shelter of a small hydrangea residue in height with a layer of mulch, spruce branches or agrofibre.
If for some reason it was not possible to prune in the fall, then this will not affect the wintering of plants. Unless it will be inconvenient and troublesome for you to bend down high branches for shelter. You will simply do this work in the spring.
These types of hydrangeas are distinguished by relative winter hardiness (withstand frosts down to -35 ° C), but nevertheless, in areas with harsh winters, it will not be out of place to insulate the roots of plants, and thoroughly cover young bushes.
Large-flowered hydrangeas lay buds for next year’s flowering on last year’s shoots. This means that all mature branches must be preserved in the name of future beauty. That is, pruning — no, but a high-quality shelter of a heat-loving species — yes.
Ways to shelter hydrangeas for the winter
There are several time-tested ways to hide hydrangeas. Each gardener chooses the most suitable option for him, depending on his climatic conditions and personal preferences.
1. Shelter on the shield
For this type of shelter, it is necessary to prepare a wide board, equal in length to the highest shoot of the plant, and hammer nails along its perimeter. Then the wooden shield must be laid on the ground and the bush gently bent down, pulling it with ropes to the stuffed nails. Then it remains to cover the entire structure with a heater. It can be dry foliage, spruce branches or agrofibre (spunbond, lutrasil with a density of 30 or more).
2. Air dry method
This method is gaining more and more popularity among gardeners due to its combination of efficiency and simplicity. Hydrangea is wrapped with one of the types of agrofiber. Above the resulting cocoon, a metal mesh in the form of a cylinder is installed at a distance of 25 cm on the sides and 10 cm from the top of the plant and filled with any dry material: foliage, needles, shavings. It is advisable to cover this structure from above with a film to prevent moisture from rains or melting snow during thaws.
3. Shelter in layers
This is one of the most time-consuming methods of protecting hydrangeas from winter frosts. But he also has his supporters due to the effectiveness, proven by the experience of many generations of gardeners.
Its essence lies in the gradual laying of each branch of the plant on a layer of spruce branches in a fan way, fixing the shoots with staples made of wire or metal tape. Then the entire horizontal structure is covered with spruce branches, dry foliage or sawdust from above, covered with lutrasil 30 in two layers. For some regions with particularly severe winters, layers of dry material and agrofibre can be repeated once again. The last should be a film to protect against moisture.
Hydrangeas in containers
Many gardeners prefer to grow hydrangeas in pots or tubs. In October, it is advisable to bring these plants into rooms with a temperature not higher than 7-8 ° C. It can be a basement or an unheated veranda of a house.
If this is not possible, it remains to send the plant a dig: dig a hole in the garden in a sunny place with a depth equal to the seedling in a pot plus 20-25 cm. Then you should place a container there and cover it with a board or plywood on top. After hard flooring, you need to insulate the entire system on top with any covering material.
For reliability, it is recommended to additionally install an inverted box or basket with dry filling and a rain film fixed on top of everything on the pit.
Which of the ways to protect your beauties from winter frosts you have not chosen, you need to remember one more important rule. You should not rush to open your «houses» in early spring. It is imperative to wait for a stable positive temperature and make sure that there is no threat of return frosts.
Article author: Oksana Artemenko