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Home » Hedge Cutting » Hedge Cutting Basics

Hedge Cutting Basics

The more often you trim your hedge, the easier the task becomes. Species such as privet and bush honeysuckle will need trimming every month or so during the growing season to stay looking smart whilst tree species such as beech, hornbeam, field maple, holly and yew may only need trimming once a year depending on the position and growing habit of the hedge. Hedges of the same species can grow at vastly different rates depending on numerous factors such as position, soil type and climate, so if your hedge produces masses of growth, it will need trimming more often, it's that simple.

If you want your beech and hornbeam hedges to retain their dead leaves through the winter, give the hedge a trim in late summer. Conifer species will sometimes require two cuts during the year, once in the spring and then again at the end of the summer; again it depends on how vigorous your particular hedge is. When trimming conifer hedges, take care not to remove too much foilage otherwise brown patches will develop.

Always start cutting your hedge from the top working your way down to the base. As you cut, trimmings will snag in the lower parts of the hedge. If you work from the top, the hedge cutter will ‘clean’ the hedge as you go. When using a powered hedge trimmer, slightly tilt the blade at an angle. This will give a better finish, especially on denser hedges such as Lleylandii and yew.

Certain hedges such as privet and box can become top heavy so it's a good idea to make the base of the hedge wider than the top to aid stability, the same goes for conifer hedges. A narrower top is easier to trim and will also allow more light into the interior of the hedge promoting stronger stems.

If the hedge you are cutting is next to flower beds or shingle, it’s a good idea to lay down some old sheets or tarpaulin. It will save you a lot of time clearing up. This is especially true if the hedge is conifer which can be a nuisance to pick out of flower beds. Alternatively you can use a garden vac if the trimmings aren’t to long.


Safety equipment.

Eye protection is essential so equip yourself with some safety glasses. Small sections of cut stem can be propelled by the cutter blades in any direction. Ear defenders are essential if using a petrol hedge cutter.

High hedges

If you have a high hedge, it might be worth purchasing a long reach hedge cutter. These allow you a fantastic reach without the restrictions of working from a ladder. Many long reach hedge cutters have adjustable angled cutter heads to allow the top of the hedge to be cut from the ground. In reality though, if the hedge is taller than 8 feet and more than a couple of feet wide, you will need to get on a ladder to remove the trimmings that remain on the top of the hedge.