The Best Time of Year for Hedge Trimming

Choose Edge & Cut for Hedge Cutting and Garden Hedge Trimming in Cambridge

Hedges are a great way to add beauty, privacy and structure to your garden. They can also provide shelter and food for wildlife, reduce noise and pollution, and increase the value of your property. However, to keep your hedges healthy and attractive, you need to trim them regularly and correctly. 

Different types of natural hedges have different pruning needs and schedules, depending on their growth rate, flowering time and dormancy period. In this blog post, we will explain how and when to trim different types of hedges, and what tools and techniques to use for each one.

Formal hedges

Formal hedges are those that have a neat and uniform shape and size. They are often used to create clear boundaries or geometric patterns in the garden. Examples of formal hedges include boxwood (Buxus), yew (Taxus), privet (Ligustrum) and hornbeam (Carpinus).

  • The best time of year for formal hedge trimming is in late spring or in summer when they are in their most active growth period. This will encourage dense and compact growth and prevent gaps or holes in the hedge.
  • Formal hedges need hedge cutting two or three times a year to keep them tidy and within bounds. The first trim should be light, removing only about 2.5cm (1in) of growth. The second and third trims should be heavier, removing about 5cm (2in) of growth each time.
  • The tools and techniques to use for hedge cutting are hand shears or powered hedge trimmers. Make sure your equipment is sharp, well-lubricated and in good working order. Use canes and string to mark straight lines along the top and sides of the hedge. Trim the hedge slightly tapered on both sides so that the base is wider than the top. This will allow light to reach the lower branches and prevent snow from damaging the hedge in winter.
  • Some tips and precautions to take when hedge cutting formal hedges are:

    o Check the hedge thoroughly for birds’ nests before starting. If you find an active nest, delay trimming until the young birds have fledged.

    o Avoid trimming hedges during very hot, dry or frosty weather. This can stress the plants and cause leaf burn or dieback.

    o Wear safety goggles and thick gloves when using a powered hedge trimmer. 

    o When using a step ladder or platform, ensure they are sturdy and stable. Tripod ladders with adjustable legs are useful when working from uneven ground.

Informal hedges

Informal hedges are those that have a more natural and relaxed shape and size. They are often used to create soft edges or colourful backdrops in the garden. Examples of informal hedges include lavender (Lavandula), rosemary (Rosmarinus), hydrangea (Hydrangea) and forsythia (Forsythia).

  • The best time of year to trim informal hedges depends on whether they flower on old or new wood. Hedges that flower on old wood should be trimmed after flowering, usually in late summer or early autumn. Hedges that flower on new wood should be trimmed in late winter or early spring before the new growth starts.
  • Informal hedges need garden hedge trimming once a year to keep them healthy and vigorous. The amount of trimming required depends on the type of hedge and the desired effect. Some hedges may only need a light trim to remove dead or damaged branches, while others may need a more drastic cut to rejuvenate them or control their size.
  • The tools and techniques to use for garden hedge trimming informal hedges are secateurs, loppers or hand shears. Avoid using powered hedge trimmers, as they can create unsightly cut leaf surfaces and damage the natural shape of the hedge. Cut individual stems at an angle, just above a bud or a branch. Remove any crossing, rubbing or diseased branches. Cut back any overgrown or straggly branches to maintain a balanced shape.
  • Some tips and precautions to take when garden hedge trimming informal hedges are:

    o Check the hedge thoroughly for birds’ nests before starting. If you find an active nest, delay trimming until the young birds have fledged.

    o Avoid trimming hedges during very hot, dry or frosty weather. This can stress the plants and cause leaf burn or dieback.

    o Wear sturdy boots and thick gloves when trimming hedges. Be careful of thorns, spines or sap that may irritate your skin.

    o When using a step ladder or platform, ensure they are sturdy and stable. Tripod ladders with adjustable legs are useful when working from uneven ground.

Trimming hedges regularly and correctly is essential for their health, appearance and function. Different types of hedges have different pruning needs and schedules, depending on their growth rate, flowering time and dormancy period. By following the tips and techniques we have shared in this blog post, you can keep your hedges in tip-top shape and enjoy their beauty and benefits all year round.

Edge & Cut: Your Trusted Gardener to Trim Hedges and Maintain Your Garden in Cambridge

If you need professional help with hedge cutting or garden hedge trimming in Cambridge, contact us today for a free quote. 

We are a reliable and experienced garden maintenance company in Cambridge that offers a range of garden maintenance services, including hedge cutting. Whether you need a gardener to trim hedges or a full garden makeover, we can handle any project, big or small. Let us take care of your garden while you relax and enjoy it!

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