How to Trim Hedges and Bushes

By: albertaarb - August 23, 2017

How to Trim Hedges and Bushes


Don’t Let Hedges and Bushes Grow out of Control

Hedges and bushes need to be trimmed regularly both to keep their appearance neat but also to keep them healthy.  Left unattended, both hedges and bushes will grow out of control.

Trimming Hedges and Bushes: Addressing the Problem

Many times, hedge and bush owners find trimming frustrating.  The key is to have the right tools for the job.  These tools include quality pruning shears for cutting back smaller branches, a pruning saw for larger branches, and a hand-held pair of pruners.  Some gardeners prefer electric hedge trimmers.

The Impact of Regular Pruning

Different shrubs and hedges have different pruning schedules.  Early blooming hedges and shrubs should be pruned late spring.  Once they have ceased flowering, they should be trimmed again.  Hedges and shrubs flowering in the summer months should be pruned during the winter or early spring.  Similarly, hedges and shrubs that do not flower should be pruned in the winter.  Trimming should start early in the growing season, and be performed regularly until just before the first frost.

Regular pruning keeps hedges and shrubs healthy and looking their best.

The Cost of Improper Pruning

Improper pruning can lead to damage – sometimes permanent damage, to your hedges and shrubs.   For example, pruning in the wrong season may result in removing the growth destined to flower the following year. 

Solutions for Hedge Trimming and Bush Trimming

Trimming hedges and bushes requires a bit of advance planning.  When trimming hedges, placing a cane at each end of the hedge, with a length of twine strung between the canes provides a useful cutting guideline.  When using electric hedge trimmers, lay the saw blade flat across the top of the hedge and glide the blade over the hedge surface.    Trimmed hedges should appear flat and level.  When trimming shrubs, recall large shrubs should never be trimmed with the goal of obtaining a small bush.  Rather, prune your bushes a few inches off the top and cut them back to provide a better defined shape. 

Next Steps

There’s nothing like well-maintained hedges and shrubs to create an attractive landscape.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to maintain your garden yourself, contact an experienced arborist.  

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