Updated: 09/18/2020

How to Cut Hedges

Trimming and cutting hedges isn’t only about cutting them in a line that makes the garden look good. It is about protecting the garden, ensuring the hedge is cut correctly and making sure your shrubs stay in good shape for long periods with little interference. Most people in the UK learn how to cut and trim hedges at a very early age, either to earn some pocket money or because parents forced them to do their chores. However, merely hacking away and doing a quick job invariably damages hedges instead of making them better. 

Hedge cutting, while not considered an art, is an essential aspect of garden maintenance, and should be done with care. Proper hedging can add to the beauty of the garden, take time off from monthly maintenance, and add longevity in the long term. The method of trimming hedges can be chalked off to formative pruning in the initial years, maintenance trimming which can be done a few times a year, and formal hedging which requires frequent cuts.

 

Why should I cut the Hedges?

Hedges are used primarily as a demarcation for privacy. The shrubs should be nurtured to full length and maintained as much as possible. Trimming strategies help shape the shrubs as needed so that they grow healthy and prevent unnecessary invasions of privacy. With the increasing security and safety concerns in the UK, it is necessary to provide a safe space for children, pets, elderly citizens, and loved ones in the garden. For this reason, cutting and pruning hedges is a necessity. 

Guidelines act as reference points for the future shape of the shrub and can be implemented across longer hedges and curves. If the base of the shrub is left marginally broader than the top, the shrubs grow out consistently, allowing excellent coverage that looks good in the garden and allows a high level of privacy to your home and garden. 

 

Which Tools are Needed to Cut Hedges?

Trimming mature and newly planted hedges require simple tools that do not cost a lot of money, but are excellent investments in the long term. Some of the things you should be concerned with are long reach hedge trimmers, cordless hedge trimmers, garden shears, and edging shears.

How to Cut Hedges

Apart from these, you should also make a decision regarding the type of hedge shears you would like to use. Battery-operated ones, power shears, and hand-operated hedge shears are some of the options you can choose. Homeowners who consider gardening a therapeutic and meditative aspect prefer manual hedging shears, while some prefer battery-operated ones to get the job done quickly. 

You should also use the necessary safety equipment while trimming the hedges like safety goggles, a face mask, gloves to protect your hands, and a long-sleeved shirt or a gardening apron to protect your skin and clothes. Some other things you may need (depending on the size of the hedge) are a stepladder, line level, tape measure, and tall poles.

 

How to Cut Hedges?

Layout: Planning the structure and setting up guidelines help provide an accurate reference for the future, and also help you get a clearer picture of how the shrubs would grow out. Use a pair of hand pruners to cut away errant branches and to maintain a straight line based on the guideline strings of referencing. Assuming straight lines from one end of the shrub to the other end helps keep the depth equal, and helps in cutting evenly all throughout. 

Mark the Base: Marking the base or the bottom corner helps identify the starting spot or point for the rest of the pruning and cutting. Marking the floor evenly across the entire length of the hedge will help cut the shrubs in an angular manner leaving the base broad with the top slightly tapered inwards for even growth and distribution. For extra precision, you could measure the distance from the main trunk or stem to the nearest shrub.

Erect the Line Strings and Cut: Erect line strings on sticks or poles measured at equal distance before starting to cut. Doing this will give you an accurate and clear view of the pruning required. Once this is done, using a hedge trimmer, start trimming the hedges from the bottom, slowly moving towards the top. Use the hedge trimmer continuously and smoothly to get even lines and cuts. Always cut the top of the hedge in the end so that you can get a perfect topline. You can collect the clipping in a wheelbarrow or a collectors bin and use them for compost.

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