Lightning strike to Pee Gee Hydrangea

Asked January 21, 2014, 5:10 PM EST

My beloved Pee Gee Hydrangea tree took a direct hit from lightning a year and a half ago, splitting the upper trunk when the plant was heavy with foliage and blooms. In an effort to salvage what I could, the broken branch was cut out, other main branches pruned to even out weight, and sealant applied to prevent disease. Last year's new growth came in with interesting twists and turns. Could the lightning have mutated the new growth? Only one or two branches grew straight. The rest of the plant has odd twists and turns. I'm eager to see what this year's new growth will do.

Clark County Washington

1 Response

Yes that is very odd. And I can't really say what's causing this twisting of branches. It might be that the lightning strike went through the plant to ground and affected the root system. But that's just a guess. These hydrangeas can tolerate quite severe pruning. I don't think all that twisting would be good for the blooms. If it were my plant I would prune it hard in late March and see if it out grew this weirdness. But we don't recommend you applying tree sealant to your large cuts, as it can cause more damage than leaving the cut open to the air by trapping in bacteria. Sort of like a little greenhouse.