By using proper trimming techniques, you can trim hedges and shrubs in order to liven up your landscape. You’ll likely also receive a healthy dose of stress-relive by maintaining a beautiful garden.1 Here’s what you need to know about when and how to trim your hedges and shrubs like a pro.
Required Tools and Materials
Image courtesy of Pixabay
In order to trim hedges and shrubs like a pro, you need the right tools. Here’s what you’ll need if you want professional results:
- Hand pruner. Good for getting in deep to prune out suckers and dead limbs.
- Hedge trimmer. An electric or gas hedge trimmer makes quick work of trimming back large areas of hedges and shrubs.
- Level. To ensure a uniform appearance.
- Safety glasses. To protect your eyes from dangerous debris.
- Work gloves. To protect your hands from sharp branches.
- Tarp. Makes cleanup quick and easy.
- Landscape stakes. Use landscape stakes and mason lines to mark out where you want to trim your hedges.
- Mason line. To mark out hedge edges.
When to Trim Hedges and Shrubs
It’s important to trim your hedges and shrubs at the right time in order to avoid damaging them. The best time for pruning depends upon the plant.
- Trim early-spring flowering shrubs right after they bloom.
- Clip summer flowering plants in winter or early spring.
- Trim nonflowering plants after new growth has completely formed.
Otherwise, light trimming can be done throughout the year to keep your plants looking their very best. Pruning is important as it directs growth, allows light and air to reach the plant, and removes damaged and diseased branches. This act can be as good for you as it is for your garden.2
How to Trim Hedges and Shrubs
Image courtesy of Pixabay
You can trim your hedges and shrubs in about four easy steps.
First, lay down a tarp below your hedges and shrubs in order to make cleanup easier.
Second, remove any growth you don’t want, cutting back along the branch just above new growth or at the plant base. You’ll want to remove any suckers or water sprouts as they take nutrients away from the desirable portion of the plant.
Next, mark out the straight lines of your hedges and shrubs using stakes and mason line as your guide. A level can help ensure you get a perfect result.
Finally, take your hedge trimmers and slowly run along the top and sides, letting the blade do the work. For best results, you want to keep the base slightly wider than the top. Be sure to take a step back every once in a while to check your work.
Once you’re finished trimming your hedges and shrubs, you can clean up any fallen branches.
Hedge and Shrub Trimming Tips
Here are a few tips to help you trim your hedges and shrubs effectively:
- Look for a hedge trimmer with an extended reach and a pivoting cutting head to make trimming tall hedges and shrubs easier.
- If you’re pruning mature, overgrown shrubs, remove the thickest branches first. Start by cutting them back to the base of the shrub. This will help to promote new growth.
- A hand pruner is useful for smaller branches, and can generally accommodate branches up to an inch in diameter.
- When using a hand pruner, cut with the branch deep in the jaws of the tool as this gives you greater cutting force. You can promote quicker healing by cutting as cleanly as possible.
- Consider creating a rounded top on your hedges and shrubs if your area receives regular snows. Doing so can help to reduce heavy snow accumulation.
You can keep your hedges and shrubs healthy and looking their best by making regular trimming a part of your yard maintenance. With a few tips and tricks, you can trim your hedges and shrubs like a pro.
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- Van Den Berg AE, Custers MH. Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress. J Health Psychol. 2011;16(1):3-11. doi:10.1177/1359105310365577
- Howarth M, Brettle A, Hardman M, Maden M. What is the evidence for the impact of gardens and gardening on health and well-being: a scoping review and evidence-based logic model to guide healthcare strategy decision making on the use of gardening approaches as a social prescription. BMJ Open. 2020;10(7):e036923. Published 2020 Jul 19. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-036923