Hedge trimming tips
Use wires to guide you
If you want to create a neat, straight hedge it’s easier to do so with guide wires.
This can be done by first driving stakes around your hedge, then placing string or wires between them to create a template for you to trim the plant.
Feed after pruning
Even though plants generally use less energy during winter, it’s still a good idea to feed your hedges after pruning to encourage optimal health. Feed with a slow-release fertiliser in late winter or early spring to keep your hedges happy.
Use the right tools
If you have a small hedge, you can trim it using just hand shears. However, if you have a large or tall hedge you might want to invest in a hedge trimmer, which can be bought from most hardware stores.
No matter what tool you use, be sure to clean them after use to maintain a sharp edge and to potentially prevent disease spreading between plants.
Common hedging mistakes
Not pruning your hedge regularly
Hedges aren’t naturally geometric – the plants that are used for hedges are often woody species that can and will try to grow into full trees if you let them.
Ensure you’re pruning your hedges back at least once a year to keep them in check.
Not knowing what sort of plant your hedge is
There’s no one ‘hedge’ plant. Hedges can be created from a variety of species. Knowing that species can determine how to best care for your hedge, including specifics on how and when to trim.
Not sure what plant your hedge is made from? A number of apps and online databases exist that can help identify species, plus many nurseries can give you an expert opinion from a photo or clipping.
Hedges have a tendency to grow wider at the top, and narrower at the bottom. This is because the top of the hedge gets more sunlight, which allows the top leaves to grow faster and stunt the growth of the foliage below.
You can avoid this by trimming your hedges so that they are narrower at the top, and wider at the bottom. If you were to cut the hedge in half, the shape should look like an equilateral triangle that has a flat top.