Having a well-kept can add character and ambience to your property and house. Hedges tend to grow quickly and can become overgrown and unsightly if not properly maintained. It is possible for gardeners to maintain a hedge by hand, but this does involve considerable manual labour. Using a hedge trimmer is much more effective. This type of machinery can be expensive but is also a worthy investment as it will be used regularly throughout the year for hedge trimming and pruning.
When using hedge trimming and pruning machine equipment, take the following points into consideration:
- Keep the blades sharp so that they do an effective job. If the blades are becoming blunt and wearing, the cut branch tips will begin to appear lighter in colour and ragged. This means the blades are just tearing the material rather than slicing and they need to be sharpened.
- Clean the blades regularly to keep them in top condition. When sap builds up on the blades, it forms solid glue and this makes it completely inefficient for trimming hedges.
- Wear protective clothing and gear when using a hedge trimmer. Follow the safety instructions on the machinery, and wear protective gloves, eye mask and mouth covering to stay safe and healthy.
When using a pair of trimming or pruning shears for hedge garden maintenance, consider these tips to make the job easier:
- Start at the bottom and cut going up the hedge to keep it even and follow your line of sight easier.
- Use the lower section of the shears to create a dig-in or pockmarked finish on the hedge which can make it more aesthetically pleasing.
- Spot the problems in the hedge and deal with them immediately. It can often be better to look at the hedge from a distance, see the trouble areas and remove them straight away. Then begin working from top to bottom with the problems already removed.
Whether you are using mechanical equipment or manual hand labour equipment, by following the basic guidelines outlined below you will result in a well-trimmed and even hedge:
1. Trim out the dead or diseased looking branches and cut them back to the main stem as close as possible. In doing this, you will encourage new growth from the base of the shrub and allow light to enter the inner branches.
2. Create a stable anchor for the hedge by positioning stakes or poles at either end. Use a guideline set up at the desired finished height to get an even effect and create a neat straight edge.
3. Shape the hedge at the top and prune along the height set out by the guideline. Once this is even, and then work from the bottom up.
4. Trim back all stray and overgrown branches and encourage branching in new growth by tip pruning.
5. Keep in mind the desired height, shape and look you are trying to achieve and prune according to this.
6. When finished, gather up hedge trimmings from the top and around the hedge. Clean and neaten the hedge with a brush or broom to remove all excess trimmings.
7. Use the excess trimmings in a compost pile along with leaf clearance. Be sure not to leave them lying around the hedge as this will attract pests and diseases which can be harmful to the hedge’s development.
8. Mulch the plants after trimming and hedging and feed them with fertiliser. This will encourage rapid and healthy new growth.