How to Prune a Hydrangea Bush Into a Tree

Pruning a Hydrangea tree regularly in order to maintain it well is required. If not, the branches will lengthen to the point and they also start to bend under their own weight. If it happens, you may notice that the Hydrangea tree can even snap off, especially under the weight of the heavy snow.

In case your Hydrangea overgrows, it will have a lot of branches which are already bent under their own weight. Well, the wiser way that you should do is to prune it before winter. Unfortunately, you do not already know how to prune the Hydrangea shrubs well as you may not ever try it. If you’re wrong, it may cause some bad impacts to your Hydrangea.


Thankfully, this post will guide you on how to prune a Hydrangea shrub into a tree form. So, let’s see our steps below!

Pruning a Hydrangea Bush into a Tree, Here’s the Guide!

With their large and mounded form, Hydrangea often becomes the supporting plant in the garden, giving background for smaller and inconspicuous plants. The branches already bend really make it so unsightly. Aside from that, the branches which pop up may break and will break the flowers.

Surprisingly,  you can turn the Hydrangea shrubs into a tree. All Hydrangea shrubs can be turned into a tree. Here, we take one Hydrangea species named Limelight Hydrangea. This type of Hydrangea actually produces dense cone-shaped panicles of bloom which put on a show from summer through fall. The blooms will start white, mature to lime green and fade to pink which can reach 10 feet tall.

Considering the height of the Hydrangea tree, pruning a mature Hydrangea bush into a tree can be a great option for you. Well, all the pruning can be done in one year, but you need to prune it gradually to get the best result.

Here’s how!

Tools you’ll need:

  • Loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Ethanol or isopropyl
  • alcohol or Lysol
  • Anvil-style hand pruners

The ways to prune the Hydrangea bush:

Step 1: Prepare the tools

To prepare the pruning tools is the first thing that you should do. In this way, disinfecting all the tools is really needed to keep the tools clean and hygienic. Before you go on pruning the Hydrangea bush, it’s better for you to clean dirt and debris from any blades and then wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol, ethanol or household cleaner like Lysol.

Make sure the pruning tool is clean from pathogens. Need to know, the Hydrangea plants are susceptible to any pathogens and disease including bacterial rust, wilf, bud light and leaf spot in order to not spread to your Hydrangea tree from your tools.

Step 2: Pruning the Hydrangea Tree

Once you prepare all the tools that you will need to prune, you can then start to prune your Hydrangea shrubs. Starting from pruning back to one three of its strongest stems which is growing from the ground. The recommended time is in late winter while the plant is dormant.

You can use loppers to cut stems up to 1 ½ inches in a diameter to ground level. While, to cut larger stems, the pruning saw can be a great option. This Hydrangea variety will bloom on new wood, so you are able to prune it aggressively. The good news, you can still enjoy the  flowers blooming in the next growing season.

Step 3: Cutting the Side Canes

To turn it into a tree, you have to clip side shoots and small canes back to ¼ inch above their third or fourth bud above the plant’s framework in early spring. Well, the framework here is formed of the large stems or trunks from which shoots grow. As the Limelight Hydrangea flowers on new wood, pruning it to push the fresh growth to make sure the best bloom period is a must-do.

Step 4: Removing Shoots

The next way that you should do is to clear out all shoots which are growing from the ground the following winter. Aside from that, you also have to remove all stems growing from the lower one-half of the Hydrangea’s trunk or the selected trunk in keeping the previous year.

You can then cut the shoots which are up to ¾ inch in diameter at ground level using anvil-style hand pruners. Cutting each branch and stel at its base is really needed for you. Make sure to avoid cutting into the trunk or trunks.

Step 5: Cutting the Tree Top

In this way, you can thin the plant’s remaining top growth to five or six main branches with the same space around each trunk to form the tree’s canopy. Here, you should prune the excess growth at its base.

Step 6: Pruning to Encourage Growth

Once you cut the tree top of Hydrangea, you can then prune all branches higher than the trunk back to ¼ inch above their third or fourth but above the plant’s framework. However, by cutting the unwanted branches will push a new growth and keep the canopy compact, so the thin stems will not bow down or splay out when it’s filled with flowers in mid-summer.

Congratulations! Now, you have pruned the Hydrangea shrubs and turned them into a tree. Wait and enjoy your Hydrangea tree with the flower blooming this year.

More Info: The Best Time When to Plant Hydrangea Tree

The Pruning’s Tips

Aside from the ways to prune the Hydrangea bush, this post also gives you plenty of tips and tricks to get the best pruning results. Here they are:

  • To prune the Hydrangea tree well, look for the species which has a vertical stem used as the main support for the plant.

Hydrangea steam

  • You have to use a main stem to deliver the general appearance of a tree if you cannot separate out a single stem.
  • You commonly need to remove the bottom 1/3 of the plant to get the semblance of a trunk.
  • Don’t do any further pruning for a year due to the plant will need the upper foliage to get the food for rejuvenation.
  • Use a sturdy stake which is inserted as close to the new central leader as possible.

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