Did a big clean out job for a customer this week. There were several HUGE mophead hydrangeas that were terribly overgrown. Most of the plant was laying on the ground. Looks like they've never been pruned before. She wanted them pulled out so we could remove the old mulch, edge and install stone. I suggested to cut them way back rather than yanking them out and told her this might kill them (but we were going to kill them anyway). So we cut them way down, pretty much left 1-2' of the woody stem on them. No flowers or leaves left. I pretty much had to cut them down far enough to where it was just like cutting an ornamental grass down in the fall. Any less cutting and we couldn't get the mulch out and put new stone in. These things were a real mess. I read that if you prune these in the fall, they might not bloom the following summer. That isn't much of a concern in this case. I'm just wondering if they'll survive and grow back or if they're shot. This is in the NE and they were red flowers if that matters.