Stylised Hedge Trimming Tips
Creating beautiful lines on hedges isn’t as hard as one might think; it all depends on the tools you use
Doing the job by hand is possible, but using a hedge trimmer is the best way to save time and energy. However, there are some important things to remember to get the most out of both your trimmer and your hedges. Here are a few tips on styling your hedges just right.
First and foremost, if you have recently planted new hedges these need to be trimmed starting at an early age. The amount you should prune depends on the species of hedge, but doing this at an early age will prevent unhealthy growth as well as help determine the shape of the hedge.
Regardless of the age of the hedge, a healthy trim should leave the hedge tapered; the bottom should be wider with a slow narrow to the top. Keeping the bottom wider allows for the sunlight to reach all parts of the hedge equally which allows for healthy growth.
Keeping up the maintenance on your hedges is a must to maintain the growth and health of the hedge. Sometimes if a hedge has gotten out of control with its growth it is a good idea to do some severe cutting, but again, this depends on the species of the hedge. Species like Conifers react poorly when old wood is cut into. It is important to know what type of hedge you are trimming before going all in.
Also, if you’re experienced with trimming, you can always cut it by eye. But another way to measure out your cuts is to tie lengths of string between rods. Setting your lines early ensures you won’t have to do any backtracking or make any cuts too narrow or too deep.
When cutting the hedge, you should cut the vertical sides first using an upward and downward sweeping motion. Once you move to the top of the hedge you’ll need to angle the blade 10 degrees to the horizontal and use a scything motion to cut off excess hedge.
It’s important not only to know how to trim the hedge but also how to make sure your trimmer is working as effectively as possible. This means regular maintenance on the trimmer. Before jumping into the task at hand, let’s examine what needs to happen before the trimming begins.
- Sharpen Blades – Sounds obvious, but if not done it can do much more damage than good. A blunt blade will tear and shred branches rather than slice, and the branches will appear ragged and light in colour which are both signs of an unhealthy hedge.
- Clean Blades – When hedges are trimmed, sap can accumulate and harden like a glue. When this happens, blades can stall and become less efficient which also causes ripping or shredding of the branches.
- Double Blades – To get the most out of your trimming, using a trimmer with double-sided, double reciprocating blades is ideal. This will save you time and energy as you’ll be able to continuously trim in a forward, walking motion rather than a stop-and-start motion.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a beautiful hedge line in your garden.