A tidy, well maintained hedge can be a beautiful feature in any garden. Hedges can look very ornamental when maintained properly, provide a home for all kinds of wonderful wildlife and give you an extra bit of privacy in your garden.
Trimming your hedges to keep them looking at their best need not be a laborious and arduous task. With the correct hedge trimming equipment and little but often maintenance throughout spring and summer, you can keep your garden hedges looking fantastic throughout the year.
Firstly, what actually is a hedge?
A hedge is formed when a series of shrubs are planted close enough together that they form a dense linear row as they grow. Collectively, they are called a hedge.
How to trim your garden hedges
To get the best results when trimming hedges, it is important to use clean, well maintained, sharp hedge trimming equipment, to ensure clean and healthy cuts. Clean, sharp cuts of branches effectively prune the hedge, which allows new, thicker shoots to flourish.
It helps to use guidelines whilst trimming your hedges, to ensure a straight and even finish. So you can use stakes and string to plot out the points at which you want the hedge to end.
One of the main benefits of trimming your hedges is allowing the inner parts of the hedge to receive some light, which is otherwise blocked out by the larger, thicker growth on the surface of the hedge. So once you have set out your guidelines, you can use hand shears to clear out any individual bits of dead wood and thin the top of the shrub. As a guide, you should remove about a quarter of old growth branches every year by cutting them off at the ground.
Then, get to the bulk of the work. You can use electric or petrol hedge trimmers to trim your hedges properly. Electric hedge trimmers are good for smaller hedges and bushes, but for more formal, larger and thicker hedges, a petrol hedge trimmer is best. Remember to wear appropriate safety equipment when using hedge trimmers, including heavy duty gloves and eye protection.
When trimming your hedges, you want to ensure that the bottom of the hedge is wider than the top. For example, a five-foot tall hedge that is two and a half feet wide at the bottom should be one foot wide at the top. If the top branches overhang the lower branches, the lower branches will be shaded and eventually die out.
Use the stakes and string to mark the height and width you want for the final look. Don’t remove more than a year’s growth at a time unless you are rehabbing an old hedge.
How to trim larger, thicker hedges and trees
Larger hedges can be tackled with a long reach hedge trimmer, which allows you to reach up to the tops of high hedges safely from the ground, without the need of ladders or steps. You can also use a long handled tree pruner or a telescopic chainsaw to deal with branches of high hedges and trees, safely from the ground.