I'm in zone 6b, and want to try to winter protect my hydrangeas this year. I have a bunch of Nikko Blues that get some sparse blooms, but I want to try to protect them from winter this year to see whether I can get some more blooms out of them. I'd like to put a date on my calendar so I'll remember to head out and cover them. Anyone in zone 6/7 know when to do this?
Rouge, thanks for the reply. All my hydrangeas survive my winters with no problem. But I have some varieties that bloom on old wood. I'm afraid that I'm killing a lot of the flower buds on these over the winter. I know that you are supposed to protect the old wood blooming types over the winter, but I want to know what month I should start protecting them. Thanks again!
Some people winter protect about 1-2 weeks before the average date of first frost while others wait until the plants start going dormant (leaves dry out, etc). But you could also keep an eye on the temps and winter protect if the temperatures are going to go down a lot, say 25 or lower.
Similarly, you can remove the winter protection about 2 weeks after the average date of last frost. If Spring is quite warm, some shrubs can go into growth mode early and their leaves and stems may look whiteish so do not be surprised to see this when you remove the winter protection. If this concern you, you can provide extra shade for a week or so; that is how long it should take for them to change back to green.