Also known as a single-species strict hedge, the trimmed hedge forms a dense plant wall composed of conifers or deciduous trees. It allows you to both beautify and delimit your garden. The strict hedge is characterized by pruning on both sides and the top. If you’re thinking of trimming it yourself, follow these steps to get a clean look.
You can use shears to trim a young hedge that is still low or of moderate height. Opt for a motorized hedge trimmer if you need to trim a tall hedge. You can choose between an electric hedge trimmer if your fence is less than 40 meters high and a thermal hedge trimmer for taller walls. You will also need a wire, spirit level, wooden stakes, and an extension cord.
Take Safety Precautions
Using a motorized hedge trimmer can be dangerous. Before you start trimming, you should make sure that nothing is dragging at your feet, which could throw you off balance. Also, wear gardening gloves, a helmet, and protective eyewear. If the height of the hedge is important, opt for a scaffold instead of a ladder for much more stability.
Start With Training Pruning
Training pruning is done during the first three years of hedge growth. The first pruning is done in the spring after planting with no more frost. It allows obtaining a dense hedge and a fast and harmonious growth. For deciduous hedges, dare a drastic pruning to ramify the shrubs and flesh out the fence from the base. Then, cut back the shrubs to 20 cm from the ground. Remove 30% of the growth in the following two years. For coniferous hedges, remove 50% of the increase each year without touching the main shoot of the shrub. Then, even out the sides by trimming the protruding side branches. If you are having trouble with hedge trimming, call in a professional. You can do the formation trimming of evergreens yourself for the next two years.
Follow Up With Maintenance Pruning
Maintenance pruning should be done at least twice a year from the fourth year on. This will moderate the height growth of the hedge and keep it looking neat. The first pruning should be done in April or May. The second pruning is done in September or October for deciduous trees and conifers between late August and early September. However, you can do an intermediate pruning in July for a perfect hedge.
Adopt the Right Techniques
Start by trimming both sides of the hedge from the bottom up. Using a motorized hedge trimmer, use a sweeping motion, moving forward along the fence and keeping the blade parallel to the wall.
Also, the base of the hedge should be wider than the top. Position yourself perpendicular to your hedge to ensure that the previously trimmed parts are aligned and adjust if necessary. You can then cut the top of the fence by removing ideally 30 cm of height. Prune along a straight horizontal line and plant stakes at each hedge end. Connect them with a wire, and cut off any overhangs. If you’re using shears, place the blades horizontally, but make a mowing motion if you’re using a motorized hedge trimmer. If you are not satisfied with the final result, professional garden maintenance is recommended.