Planting and Landscape Advice

The Best Time To Trim or Cut Hedges

The Best Time To Trim or Cut Hedges

Trimming your hedges may not sound like the ideal way to have fun, but if you want your garden to look its best throughout the year, it’s a job that needs to be done. It’s important to know just what you are doing, however, as over-trimming, or trimming at the wrong times can be disastrous for the hedges you are working on. Here are some useful tips on what to prune and when so that your garden is a beautiful sight for all.

Evergreen Hedges

Because evergreen hedges don’t have an ‘off season’, picking a good time to prune them isn’t such a chore; it can be done at almost any time of the year and the result will still be good. The very best time, however, is late winter or early spring – although these bushes stay looking green, these are the times when they are lying dormant, so they don’t actually grow. That means you can trim them and they will stay looking neat for potentially months to come.

You should also prune lightly in the summer when the growth is at its height. This will keep these evergreens tidy and stop the job from being such a tricky one come the winter time.

Deciduous Hedges

A deciduous hedge is one from which the leaves fall in autumn – it is the opposite, in other words, of an evergreen. In early spring these hedges are going to need light pruning – time it so that you do it just before the new buds start to open up. Keep an eye on the hedges throughout the summer as well, though, as they may need tidying up after a growth spurt, for example, or if any branches become broken through bad weather or animal activity.

How To Trim Hedges

When it comes to trimming your hedges, it’s not always a question of simply cutting and hoping for the best; there are some rules to follow to get the best results. Firstly, you need to find the right tool. There are many different hedge cutters on the market, and the one you choose will come down to a combination of budget, ease of use, and functionality, which is why it is important to check them out and even if you can’t use them, you can at least hold them and understand how they feel. If you can find one with a guideline included that’s even better because you will get much straighter hedges in the end.

The hedge trimmers should be disinfected before you use them as well. If they have been left sitting around for a while, the blades could be dirty, or they might have remnants of last year’s leaves on them, which is how disease spreads. Clean them in nine parts water and one part bleach and you should be fine.

When you trim the hedge it is essential that you keep the bottom wider than the top because if not, the lower branches will be too shaded by the upper ones, and they will die off.

Finally, wear protection. Gloves and goggles will ensure that you can trim your hedges without any injury.

Complications

Although trimming hedges is not a difficult task, for the most part, there can be complications to watch out for. For example, you should never try to trim hedges during nesting season as you can scare the birds away from their nests, and their eggs.

Another issue can be over-trimming. If you go too far with the cuts you are making, it can be difficult for some hedges to grow back healthily later on in the year. This can be confusing because other hedges need to be trimmed quite dramatically. The best thing you can do before you begin is to check that you know what kind of hedge you are working on, and how it needs to be trimmed.

About The Author

Adrian Byrne, NC. NDip. Horticulture

All about hedging and trees, planting, care and maintenance advice as well as celebrating their many benefits.