Tips When Trimming Your Garden’s Hedges This Summer

Reader Contribution by George Ward
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Taking care of your hedge adds natural beauty to your property for longer. It also helps to improve the curb appeal of your yard. Also, it helps to complement lawns, trees, home gardens, landscapes, hardscapes, patios, walkways, and patios. 

Unhealthy shrubs, rugged hedges, and unwanted bushes can make a home garden an eyesore to look at. They can ruin a once beautiful lawn and make it lose its curb appeal. To avoid all that, however, one can trim their garden hedges this summer all by themselves by following the tips below.

Tools to Use for Trimming

Here you can use:

  • Handheld pruners/trimmers
  • Loppers
  • Small curved saws

Among the hedge trimmers that you can use are:

  • Manual hand-operated trimmers.
  • Gas-powered trimmers.
  • Corded electric trimmers.
  • Battery-powered trimmers

Photo by joyce huis on Unsplash

How to Trim A Hedge

Step One

Before you start trimming, check your backyard ideas for and remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Stand back and take another look and decide which of the branches you want to remove to improve the overall size and shape of the hedge. For some brushes, you will have to remove them entirely while for some you will be cutting them to a certain point.

Step Two

Start by cutting the branches and shrubs from the bottom of the hedge and go up towards the top of the hedge. Ensure to move the cutting bar in a slow and steady pace and allow the blades to do the cutting without forcing them. This is also important to ensure the lower side is wider than the top.

Also, avoid cutting too deep into the hedge on the first pass. If you go deeper, you might lop off too many branches. A shallow pass, on the other hand, will help to trim only a couple of inches at a go.

Step Three

1. Trimming Formal Hedges

Hedges with such bushes as boxwoods can be shaped to attain a more formal appearance. To trim such formal hedges, follow the following steps:

  • To trim along straight lines, your house can act as a cutting guide. You can also use a siding or other fitting objects such as sticks and strings. If you are using sticks and strings, set them up along the hedge you are trimming but not too deep into the cover and then use a level to position the strings for increased perfection.
  • Run your trimmer along the top and sides of the hedge slowly, allowing the blade to do the work without extra pressure. Again, ensure to keep the lower side wider than the top one. Once in a while, step back and check your progress for any inconsistencies.

2. Trimming Informal Hedges

This is usually the normal trimming and for hedges that are left to form more natural shapes. To trim such hedges, the following steps can be followed:

  • Start by laying a tarp down to ensure the clean-up process will be easier.
  • Ensure the trimmer is in good working condition.
  • Remove the growth that you do not need and progress to thinning out spots of thick outer covers. Since the inner limbs and branches need enough air and sunlight, you should cut back along the branches just above new growth or along the plants’ base. If you allow the trimmer to top the shrub, it will allow new growth near the cut while cutting farther back encourages growth along the limb.

If you are trimming mature and overgrown shrubs or branches, start by removing the thickest branches. To promote new growth, cut them back to the base of the shrub.

If you need to work on tall hedges, you should consider renting or buying an extended-reach hedge trimmer. The trimmer plus a pivoting cutting head makes for a simplified operation for tall hedges as well as the hard-to-reach areas of the hedge or plants. The best thing about innovation is that it has made some string trimmers able to accept hedge trimmer attachments with the extended-reach and pivoting functionalities.

When to Trim Hedges

When is the best time for trimming hedges? Trim them:

  • When the early-spring-flowering shrubs start to blossom.
  • The summer-flowering plants need to be clipped either in early spring or during winter.
  • If they are non-flowering plants, always trim after every new growth completely forms.

Throughout the year, however, you can do light trimming.

Tips for Trimming the Garden Hedges

The above DIY tips can work for most hedge-trimming needs, be it for hedges, brushes, or shrubs. They can also be done with any hedge trimmer that you use. For formal hedge trimming needs, it would be advisable to do it at least thrice or four times in a year for continuous neatness and manicured appearance while informal hedges may require trimming once or twice annually.

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