My established mop head and lace top hydrangeas were leafing out nicely along the stem-until the freezing temperatures of a couple weeks ago. Those baby leaves shriveled and turned brown and remain so. There are however healthy green leaves emerging at the base of the plants. I understand I have lost this years blooms. Can I safely cut back the unsightly stems at this point to shape up the plant? My Limelight hydrangea seems to have been unaffected . Thank you.
Hydrangeas are susceptible to cold damage. At this point simply monitor the plant as we may have more cold temperatures. Once this has passed you should be able to determine what you should prune.
Watch for new growth at the base of the plant. If the plant has basal shoots that are about 6 inches in length, but the upper parts are bare, then the bare stems need to be removed. Scratch the bare stems with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the stems are still viable. Whether this years flowers are affected, the buds of which are formed the previous growing season, remains to be seen. Some of the newer cultivars like “Endless Summer” bloom on both old and new wood, so if winter damaged, you may have summer blooms.
Just give it water, if we enter a period of drought.