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hydrangea - 100yrs old

the new house we bought has a hydrangea bush that is 100 - 110 yrs old. It stands alomost 3 stories high. I havent seen it bloom yet but I have 1 picture of it from last year. I cant wait to this bush / tree bloom... I ask the previous owner what she did, fertilize etc. She said she was scared to do anything with it even trim it. It has alot of deadwood on it and now the main electrical wire runs through the leaves. I have heard conflicting information on how to care for a hydrangea bush. I have heard that you cant trim it and I heard that you can. I am hoping to find out how to trim and should I fertilize? I am a little scared that what ever I do I will do harm. But I am also scared if I do nothing that will kill it too. Any feedback would be great...

Thank you

Re: hydrangea - 100yrs old

First,any dead wood can & should be cut out of it. What kind is it? Most really large ones I've seen are oak leaf hydrangeas, but I'm not that familiar with all of them.
They can be trimmed, but generally they bloom on old wood, so unless you trim it back right after they bloom, you may not have blooms in that area next year. It will bloom the following year if not cut again.
I would think it's important to get it out of the wires, even if you loose a years bloom. An arborist that knows how to trim and not just chop would be a person to bring it down to size & keep its shape & beauty. I would feed it a general organic fertilizer like Plant Tone on the ground around the roots . An arborist might suggest something else & I would follow his recommendation.
BTW- electric wires overhead aren't really insulated, so trimming around them is best left to pros. If it's in an easement of the power company, I would trim it before they get to it. Around my way contractors with chainsaws on poles & bucket trucks just lop off anything in or near the wires to help prevent outages.
I would enjoy the blooms this summer then have someone take care of it afterwards.

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