26th April 2022

9 top hedge trimming tips

1. Prioritise safety

The most important of our hedge trimming tips is to prioritise both personal safety and the safety of other people (and pets).

Hedge trimming tools are sharp, so only adults should have access to them. Don’t leave them lying around, and keep them locked away when not in use. Follow all user safety guidance when using powered tools.

Wear thick gloves to protect your fingers, and sturdy footwear to prevent slips. If you are working at height, ensure your ladders or platforms are stable. Clear away any tripping hazards, and keep children and animals away from your work area. It is also a good idea to tell someone what you are doing, especially if you are not within easy sight of others.

2. Know your species

While the hedge trimming tips here will apply to most types of hedge, you will need more specific advice before pulling out the secateurs or powering up your hedge trimmer.

Check with your local garden centre for hedge trimming tips specific to your type of hedge, including when in the year you should start trimming.

Also take a look at our other blog posts. We have written articles on hedge trimming tips for box, conifers and other types of hedge.

3. Trim frequently for a neater shape

Most hedges need only two trims a year, and you can get away with an annual trim for some slow-growing hedges. But if you are aiming for a neat, well-shaped hedge, you will want to trim every few weeks during growing season. The more frequently you trim, the more control you will have over the appearance of your hedge.

4. Look after your hedge trimming tools

If you are using secateurs, loppers, shears or garden scissors, keep them well-oiled and sharp. This will make your hedge trimming more efficient, but will also ensure a cleaner cut, reducing the chance of disease.

5. Check carefully for active birds’ nests

It is a criminal offence in the UK to disturb a live birds’ nest, so check for these before making a start. Nesting season runs approximately from May to August.

6. Trim the bottom of your hedge wider than the top

Unless you are training your hedge into a specific shape, aim for tapered sides with a wider base. This will ensure plenty of sunlight reaches the lower leaves, keeping your hedge healthy from top to bottom.

7. Use string or plywood templates for added control

If you are aiming for a complex shape, design a plywood template and place this on your hedge before trimming. For larger hedges, suspending taut string between two buried canes will help you to keep a straight, even surface.

8. Lay a ground covering to collect trimmings

Hedge trimming often takes a lot longer than people think, because they forget about having to clean up the fallen leaves, twigs and branches. You can minimise this clean-up time by laying canvas or decorators’ sheets around your hedge before you start.

9. Beware ‘cheap’ hedge trimming services

If you decide you want to hire a firm to trim your hedges for you, be careful about very low hourly rates. Unskilled hedge trimmers will often take a lot longer than a professional, and you could end up paying more for an inferior result.

Kneebone Trees can provide a one-off hedge trim or ongoing hedge maintenance, keeping your hedges looking pristine all year round. Have a look on our hedge maintenance page or get in touch for a free quote.

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