Hedge Trimming Tips: What You Need To Know About Cutting Garden Hedges

Garden hedges are a great way to improve your garden, and there are various types of hedges to suit your preferences.

Garden hedges must be trimmed at least once yearly to ensure that no dead branches cause other plants to become diseased and ruin your garden’s look.

Here at Gustharts, we want to advise you on how to trim various styles of garden hedges to create a picturesque exterior.

What equipment will you need?

Pruning hedges will require using sharp gardening tools and plenty of protective gear to ensure you avoid injury. View the list below for the equipment you will need to prune back a hedge:

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Secateurs
  • Loppers
  • Shears
  • Hand saw
  • Rake

Secateurs, loppers, shears and hand saws are the main tools needed to ensure you trim your hedge efficiently and effectively. A rake is a useful tool to help you clear away dead leaves or branches after pruning.

How to prune various hedge styles

There are various hedge styles that you can adopt to make your garden look aesthetically pleasing. This guide will show you how to cut certain hedge types for your exterior, from beech hedges to yew hedges.

Beech hedge

It is recommended that you aim to cut a Beech hedge so it has a tapered shape, with the top being thinner than the bottom. This ensures that sunlight can reach the lowest branches to produce the maximum amount of leaves. Shears or secateurs are often the best tools to cut Beech hedges, as a hedge trimmer can turn the leaves brown if roughly cut.

Start pruning at the top of the hedge and work down the sides, pruning each shoot individually. Pruning a Beech hedge should be done in early June and early August. Pruning in August will allow new leaves to grow, which will stay throughout winter. If you need to prune any branches for whatever reason, you should do this in winter when the hedge is dormant.

Laurel hedge

Laurel hedges are best trimmed at the start of summer to allow plenty of new growth. Using secateurs  is the best option for trimming a Laurel hedge; however, a hedge trimmer can also be used. Secateurs will take longer but allow you to neatly trim your hedge, whereas using a hedge trimmer will cut through some leaves, making it look untidy.

You should avoid trimming your hedge in the winter as this may leave your hedge susceptible to frost damage. Laurel hedges only need to be trimmed once a year and are a great evergreen addition to your garden.

Box hedge

Box hedges should be trimmed twice yearly, in late May or early June and then again in September. IIt is a tradition for gardeners to trim Box hedges on Epsom Derby Day, the first Saturday in June; however, May is fine. Trimming earlier than May could expose your hedge to frost, seriously damaging its growth.

Trimming should not be done on a sunny day, as Box hedges are sensitive to sunlight and at risk of sun-scold. Checking for bird nests before you trim is crucial, as it is illegal to disturb them. Box hedges should be cut with a straight finish which tapers towards the top. September is the last time that you should trim your hedge, as any later could expose it to cold weather.

Privet hedge

Any damaged branches should be removed when the plant is dormant in the winter. Any trimming of the outside of the hedge should take place during spring. Remove dead and large branches from the inside of each shrub to allow the centre of the hedge to open up.

Use a shear along the top of the hedge to trim it to the height you want your Privet hedge to be. After deciding how tall you want your hedge to be, shear the sides of the hedge in a downward diagonal slope. The top of the hedge should be narrower to allow sunlight to reach the bottom.

Hawthorn hedge

It is recommended that you prune Hawthorn hedges in the autumn and winter months, after the plant has flowered, to avoid harming wildlife and encourage flower production for the following spring. Depending on the size of each branch, you will need loppers, hand saws and secateurs to cut your hawthorn hedge.

Look at the base of each branch and remove broken or dead branches. Removing these branches will prevent disease from spreading throughout the hedge. If your Hawthorn hedge is growing too high, trim down any branches and leaves to a height that you find comfortable.

Hazel edge

Upon planting a Hazel tree, you should cut the sprigs back by about one-third of their length. The next pruning should be done after about 5 years, as you need to give the Hazel tree time to grow. Pruning should be done in winter when the plant is dormant.

You should only prune part of the tree at any one time. To help prevent the Hazel tree from growing over approximately six feet, you should cut back any new growth by about half. Remove any dead or old branches to help prevent disease from spreading. Severely pruning the tree to even out the branches will help to cut the back significantly.

Yew hedge

You can maintain a healthy Yew hedge by trimming once a year, usually between August and October. If you want your hedge to grow bushier, trimming the sides will ensure this will happen.

Much like a Box hedge, you should trim your Yew hedge in a downward diagonal slope, leaving the bottom of your hedge wider than the top. This ensures that sunlight can reach the bottom branches of your hedge. You should never cut the top of the plant, as this will stunt growth. Yew hedges often grow rapidly, and trimming the top will significantly decrease the growth rate.

Keep your garden looking tidy with Gustharts

This guide will help you trim any hedge in your garden. Gustharts has a range of garden tools, such as loppers, secateurs and hand saws available to help you get started. Need some protective gear? Browse Gustharts’ range of eye protection, gloves and shoes, or why not invest in some shears?

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