I just moved into a new house and there are many old hydrangeas in the yard. Is it too late to cut them back? I see some buds on the old growth and nothing new coming up, but is it too early?
Thanks for the question.
Depending upon the variety of hydrangea you have, It should have been pruned last summer or be pruned now. In the former event, you would be pruning branches upon which last years flowers appeared and now will be developing 2020 flowers. That would have been good. But should you have such a variety, pruning now would then preclude any flowers developing this season. This is called blooming on “old wood. In the event that your hydrangea will bloom on foliage that will develop on this year’s growth, then you have a “new wood” growth. Since you may be uncertain on the variety of your hydrangea, it is uncertain what you should do.
So here’s my best shot. Do nothing at this time other than viewing when flowers develop. If they do so within the next month or so, then prune things back when those blossoms die back (late June?). If the blossoms appear in August or even early September, then do your pruning in early 2021 (March/April).
I am very confident that whatever you course of action, your hydrangeas will survive quite well.
Do not get unduly stressed about this. Hydrangea are very hardy and will survive nicely regardless of when you prune them.