How do I protect a newly planted Hydrangea (snowball) for the winter?
Marybeth: Do not prune back as you will remove the flowers for next summer. The plant is deciduous and will drop its leaves, so don't worry if the leaves fall! Plant in good soil with compost, water in well, mulch with 2-3" of mulch and you should be set! If we have a dry spell, water the plant and be sure that the soil is quite moist before the ground freezes. That usually happens around the week after Christmas. If the soil is dry at that time because we have had little rain, water the plant. Once the ground freezes watering is almost impossible as the water runs off instead of soaking in. Snow is wonderful since it melts slowly, the moisture does go into the soil to some extent. Be sure to water next season as you would any new planting.