One of the most appealing plants to have in your garden are the perfectly trimmed hedges. They can serve as fences and decoration, if maintained properly. The amount and timing of trimming depends very much on the species of the hedge. So, before you read this article, make sure you’ve found out what your hedge is. Here are the best tips on trimming a hedge for a beautiful garden.
The Shrubs That are Perfect for Hedges
As we said earlier, it’s important to know what shrubs you have in order to adapt different techniques for trimming. For example, species like Conifers don’t do well when old woods is cut into. There are many shrubs that will look great in your garden, but there are a few which are notably suitable and deal well with trimming. Those are camellia, cypress, strawberry tree, wild privet, weigela, photinia and flowering currant.
Tools for Trimming a Hedge
It’s not impossible to trim the hedges by hand with scissors, but a hedge trimmer is definitely preferable. You should, however, always have a hand held shears, which will help you will smaller trimming projects or quick fix-ups. You can buy the hedge trimmer from a gardening or home improvement shop. To ease your job, you can buy a trimmer with double blades. That would save you time and energy by cutting your work in half.
It’s advisable to pick a cordless hedge trimmers for smallers shrubs as it has the same power as the electric or petrol ones. For shrubs taller than 5 meters use an electric or petrol hedge trimmer in order to reduce some workload. And, for the larger branches use pruners and shears.
You need to make sure the trimmer is well maintained so you don’t damage your hedges. A blunt blade can damage the branches by tearing and shredding rather than cutting them. You should also ensure that the blade is kept clean as while you trim a hedge, sap can accumulate on harden.
You have to accept and understand, though, that even with the best trimming machine, you won’t become instantly good at this process. You need steady hands and patience, but also a lot of practice. But don’t worry too much about it! Make mistakes and learn from them.
Perfect Time for Trimming
Timing of trimming also depends on the type of shrubs you have. Major shapings should happen once a year when the growth period is finished or has slowed down. Most hedges flower in spring or summer, so make sure you are familiar with the plant cycle of yours. For those that flower in spring trim them after they are done blooming. Those that flower in summer trim them at the end of winter or early spring. And, for those that don’t flower at all, trim them after any new growth appears to be fully formed. You can also do occasionally light trimming every now and then with hand shears.
Best Techniques to Trim a Hedge
If you’ve recently planned your hedges, it’s good to trim them early on. That will help them grow healthier and will determine their shape. But no matter the age of the hedge, a good trim should leave the hedge wider at the bottom and slightly narrow at the top. This way the sunlight is able to reach the whole hedge equally for a healthy growth.
Help Yourself With the Clean Up in Advance
Work smart, not hard. Before you start trimming, lay down a cloth or tarpaulin around the shrubs. As you are cutting off the branches and leaves, they will fall down on them. Thus, at the end of the trimming just pick up, fold the cloth and throw away all the waste that was generated.
Start with the Vertical Sides
Take a look at your shrubs and picture the way you want to form them. When trimming the hedge, you should start with cutting the vertical sides first using upward and downward sweeping motions. When you get to the top side of the hedge, you have to angle the blade at 10 degrees to the horizontal and use scything motions.
Cut Off with the Outer Branches
Focus first on trimming the outer branches and thinning out any dense areas on the outside of the shrubs. Cut close to the main stem to encourage new growth all the way along the branch. If you cut near the top of the branches, you promote growth only near the top.
Thin Out the Inside
Then, start trimming little deeper into the shrub. Remove all dead or broken branches since they only interfere with the plants’ growth. By thinning out the inside, you let the plant breathe and prevent forming of mold or other pathogenic growth. Still, make sure you don’t remove more than ? of the shrubs’ inside.
Look for Straight Lines as Guidance
While trimming, look around for any straight lines that you can use as guidelines. For example, the edges of your house, street signs, other hedges, roads, etc. That will help you with staying steady and keeping your eyes on point. Trimming a hedge perfectly takes practice and you probably won’t succeed from the first time. Using straight lines as guidance, however, definitely helps for a well-shaped shrub
Use Strings for Guides
You can also use strings to guide your trimming for straight and clean edges. Stick four stakes into the soil at all 4 corners of the shrub. If you want to shape the shrub in a form, different than a rectangle, stick the stakes at every angle. Lay strings from one stake to another in a parallel to the ground manner. You can use a ruler to help you with that. Now you can start trimming by using the strings as guidelines for a well-leveled shrub.
Enjoy the Process
As we mentioned a few times already, trimming takes practice and patience. This is why there are many professional gardeners who do this for a living. But don’t worry, the more you do it, the better you will get at it. And, you will be able to brag about your skills and perfectly shaped hedges on the next garden party.
There you have it, all the information you need to perfectly trim your hedges for a beautiful and lush garden. Of course, you can always use your imagination and trim your hedges in all shapes and forms. Especially, when you get used to using the tools and learn what your plants need for a healthy grow, you can go all creative. Now, let’s start trimming!
Name: Dimo Koev
Dimo has 10+ years of experience in landscaping services, garden design and maintenance, lawn care, turfing, hedge trimming, weeding, fencing, decking, patio and driveway laying, planting, garden clearance, and more. He is the president of Professional Gardening Services, which delivers the bespoke gardening services in London. Dimo believes in constantly adapting, innovating and learning about his industry in order to deliver the best service to his clients. That’s why he is so enthusiastic and eager to share his knowledge and skills with everyone who needs gardening advice.