How to prune a hydrangea paniculata 'limelight' into a tree form

Written by kimberly johnson
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The cultivar "Limelight" is a variety of Paniculata hydrangea that has light green blooms that turn pink in the fall months. Paniculata is the only type of hydrangea that can be pruned into a tree form, instead of the standard bush form. A tree hydrangea has a long, tall trunk with no leaves and an upper canopy that resembles a standard hydrangea. Tree-pruned hydrangeas require more maintenance to remove the trunk suckers that sprout up.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hand pruners
  • Loppers

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  1. 1

    Wait until the late fall or the early spring to prune the Limelight hydrangea into a tree form.

  2. 2

    Peer into the centre of the hydrangea bush by holding back some of the stalks with your hand. Look for the thickest stalk near the centre of the bush, which will become the main trunk for the tree.

  3. 3

    Release the branches, and then use a pair of loppers to begin cutting off all of the other stalks as close to the ground as possible. Start from the outside of the plant, and work your way in until all that is left is the single central stalk.

  4. 4

    Set down the loppers and pick up a pair of hand pruners. Look at the single remaining stalk and decide how far up you want the canopy to start. Cut off all side shoots and leaves below the chosen point, using the hand pruners. Make the cuts as close to the main stalk as possible without cutting into it.

  5. 5

    Prune the Limelight hydrangea on an ongoing basis to remove any stalks that attempt to sprout up from the ground and to remove any side shoots that sprout from the main trunk. Do not prune the upper canopy until the next spring or fall, or you will remove the blooms.

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