Panicle Hydrangea – Pruning

Q: My hydrangea tree is fifteen feet tall and beautiful. I wonder if I should trim the lower branches and give the tree a trunk and a “head”.

A: I’m guessing you have one of the panicle hydrangeas: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’, ‘PeeGee’, ‘Grandiflora’, etc. If that’s the case, you can prune at will. You can divide the job into two stages: some pruning for form now and more in winter. The winter pruning would remove the oldest and tallest stems in the center, which would reduce overall load on the shrub trunk. Unlike common mophead hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas can be pruned in winter without diminishing blooms the following summer.