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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Now, cut that out. That, right there, see it? That dead branch on your hydrangea shrub. This is the time of year when I poke around in my big leaf hydrangeas to try to find the dead wood because it’s so easy to see. Gardeners get into trouble by pruning old-fashioned big leaf hydrangeas when they’re dormant in the late fall or early spring and end up chopping off healthy branches because without any leaves, it’s hard to tell what’s dead or alive.

But at this point in the year, you should see plenty of flowers and lush leaves all over the shrub – except for those branches here and there which are completely bare. Cut them out. Reach into the shrub to follow the dead branch back to where it begins – you’ll find that many of them can be cut to the ground.

By clearing the deadwood out now, you’ll know for sure you’re not lopping off any flowers for next year. Plus your hydrangea won’t have those ugly brown twigs sticking out of it anymore.

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