Sometimes shrubs need more than a light prune in order to keep them under control. One such shrub, a climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea petiolaris, is located on the back wall of the Gloucester House accommodation block and is about to start climbing across the roof.
The hard prune may well reduce the number of flowers produced over the next few years but it can not be allowed to spread over the roof so a hard prune, and a sacrifice in flowers, has to be done. To reach the offending height the lower, thick growth had to be cut first, reducing the longer stems back by 1-2 feet to a healthy pair of leaf nodes. Once the thickest growth has been thinned the ladder could be put in to place for safe access to the top half for its removal.
Having chosen the desired height to which it had to be cut down to, the offending thick stems were cut and carefully pulled off the wall, not easy when attached by thousands of strong aerial roots that grow along the stems and attach themselves to the wall with some great force.
This hydrangea will only need a light prune after flowering over the next few years and the height will be controlled in future.