Establishing a hedge can be a very rewarding time in the garden. Maintaining them is very important and regular trimming is required to keep them lush and dense. The more formal the hedge the greater the requirement for ongoing trimming.
When to trim hedges yourself or using a hedge trimming services
Hedges require formative pruning regularly for the first couple of years to make sure they take on the shape you expect. After this period formative trimming is only generally required in winter or springs. More formal hedges may require “up to” three trims per year.
Hand held shears are ideal for small hedges. When it comes to the larger hedge it is easier and more accurate to use electric or petrol powered hedge trimmers. There are numerous types available on the market today but whichever you use they must be maintained in a sharp state and be well lubricated.
When trimming a hedge safety is paramount. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment and where the tools being used are electric 240 volts. Place the lead over your shoulder so it won’t be accidentally cut while you are trimming. The ground around the area should be stable when using ladders. Please use ladders with caution. Example: my brother is a paramedic and has indicated that every time there is a public holiday they get a call to a handyman or woman who had fallen off a ladder. Some with very bad injuries. So please be careful when your hedge requires you to use a ladder.
There is no need for even formal hedges to exceed 600mm if they are regularly trimmed. Such hedges should have a very slight taper on both sides so the base is wider than the top. This is known as cutting the hedge with a batter.
Tips for a symmetrical hedge:
Use a straight taut string line which is tied between two stakes. Take a great deal of care placing the stakes and be aware of what is under the ground when securing them with a hammer or the like.
If you would like to shape the top of a hedge, rather than have it flat, cut a template and move it along as you cut.
It may sound quite obvious but so many gardeners make this mistake. When cutting the top of a flat hedge make sure you concentrate on keeping the shears or trimmers parallel to across the top of the hedge.
When cutting the top of a hedge use a wide sweeping action with the trimmers so that the debris falls away from the hedge.