How to trim hedges: the ultimate guide for perfect garden hedges

hi and welcome back to garden ninja
today’s video is gonna be all about hedge trimming so whether you’re a
beginner or you’ve been clipping hedges for years I’m going to be giving you
some top tips to make it as efficient and get the best results out of the hedges
so come on let’s get clipping! So first things first we need to go
through the tools that you’re going to need to cut and trim your hedges so
really you’ve got two main options the first power tools whether that be petrol
or electric and the second is manual and they’ve both got the
advantages and disadvantages and I’ll take you through those now so with your
power tools the main advantage is that they are fast again you don’t need much
effort to start clipping your hedges so if you want to use the manual hedge
clipper method you’re probably going to be looking at a pair of shears now it’s
a lot more labor-intensive you’re gonna need some upper body strength to be able
to clip the whole hedge using hand shears but the benefit for those that
are really particular on detail is that they will give you a razor sharp cut
worries with electric hedge trimmers and petrol hedge clippers sometimes you’ll
find that the blade will tear through the leaves with hand shears if they’re
sharp you’re always going to get and laser sharp cut and the benefit of that
is that the plant will heal quicker and you’re going to much need to finish
which is really important if you’re cutting larger leaf specimens like
cherry laurel or Griselinia because if you use a hedge clipper and you cut
through all the leaves and leave them ragged the risk is that they were crisp
up and look a little bit ugly whilst they dry up on the top of the hedge but
it really is up to you and how much time you’ve got personally I would go with
the hedge trimmer method and use and save the hand shears things like topiary
or really small detail parts of hedges. Now when you’re ready to start clipping
your hedge it’s really important start from the bottom and move up and that’s
primarily for safety I’ve seen so many times people start to cut the hedge
they’re going down they might hit snag they put some more force on and soon
straight down and you might damage yourself so it’s a lot easier if you’re
going upwards and you hit that snag if you just get a bit stuck all you’re
gonna do is go all the way up. So you’re not going to come down causing injury to your
legs so again don’t forget your safety gear goggles and take your time
so starting at the bottom we’re gonna move our way up towards the top. So here’s another top tip with your
hedges so we’ve just talked about starting at the bottom and working our
way up then you always want the top to be slightly narrower compared to the
bottom and that’s for two reasons the first reason is if you create a perfect
box what will happen is that the sunlight will hit the top and it won’t
be able to get all the way down so you’ll get loads of growth on top and
then you’ll end up the kind of a really deprived straggling bit the bottom the
second reason which is often overlooked is if you live somewhere that’s gonna
get snow in the winter if you cover it like this it’s a lot easier for snow to
fall off without damaging the hedge if you’ve got a complete square edge a big
drift of snow can sit on there and that’s an awful lot of weight for hedge
to take and eventually the hedge will give way and it’s gonna snap so it’s
really important that you use a camber to both protect the hedge from
winter weather and also ensure that you get even growth. So another question and frequently asked
and when is the best time to clip and trim your hedges and it really depends
on the type of hedge you’re clipping the overall finish and whereabouts you based
in the UK we have to be mindful of nesting birds so anytime between sort of
the end of March through to August is a risky time because there may be birds in
there that have nested if you go to trim the hedge you can scare them off you can
injure them you can leave their young without parents so we don’t want to do
that I tend to clip my hedges late February and then towards the end of
August and what that means is that the clip at the end of August will take my
hedges through the winter because the growth is going to slow down come Artem
leaving with a crisper finish. Now you may remember I planted this
hedge two years ago and did a guide on how to plant a hedge and it’s come on
leaps and bounds it’s an absolutely humongous but just brilliant it’s what I
wanted but it’s a great example as well for move back of an evergreen hedge so
this is a Griselinia and it does have large leaves and before I was
saying that if you use a hedge trimmer on this and the hedge trimmers not razor
sharp you can end up with torn leaves which isn’t too detrimental to the plant
but it can look ugly so if you want a pristine finish I’d always recommend
that if you’ve got the time use hand shears on larger leaves hedges
to give that perfect finish so if you look behind me I’ve got roughly 150
meters of this to clip so it’s probably going to take me the best part of a full
day with cleanup with hedge trimmers though probably do this in about half
the time so with the hand shears the first thing you’re going to notice is
the super clean sharp cut like you can see here and it means that the plant is
in less stress because the cut is cleaner and there’s less damage but it
does take an awful lot longer with hand shears it’s a labor of love and I use
them on my very important hedges where I want a really clean cut topiary or small
specimens if you type or then electric hedge trimmers are going to be far
quicker and efficient than a pair of beautifully made yet slow hand shears! Now even if you’ve just planted your hedge you’re going to need to trim it even in the first year and what that
will do is send the energy further down the plant for it to bush out.
There is a bit of a habit of people planting hedges and just thinking I’ll
let them grow really tall and what I want privacy but the fact is all you’re
going to encourage is these really tall gangly plants by taking off the section
at the top of that hedge you’re encouraging it to push together and mesh
together is a really dense hedge and that’s what you want so you need to be a
bit patient and think about the long term rather than the immediate height
that you might be able to get without the volume. So when it comes to tidying up the
clippings for your head cutting you may have seen other advice says that you
should lay out a tarpaulin or cloth then clip your hedges and then you can
move the tarpaulin with all the clippings on and put them somewhere else
like in the bin or compost bin. However in all my experience I found when I’ve done
that it’s actually a bit of a fuss by the time you’ve done it lifted it and
moved it you might as well have got your brush out and just
swept up the clippings now there is one exception to this which is if you’re
putting hedges or topiary onto gravel or shingle if you’re doing that then I
certainly would put down some sheeting because if not you’re gonna find it
really difficult to get all of those clippings out from onto the gravel all
of the maps dustpan and brush and off you go now you may find that with hedge
trimmers there’s a few bits still need a little bit of light pruning such as
snags tears or missed bits because you can’t get close enough with a simple
sharp pair of secateurs go back around clip off anything that’s either been
damaged or still needs a good trim! It’s also worth bearing in mind it’s far
easier to clip these fresh green shoots than old establish woody material so a
stitch in time really just saved my I always make sure you check what the
maximum thickness that your hedge trimmers can trim through there’s no
point trying to pull it through really thick establish branches if your hedges
overgrown and it’s really thick use a chainsaw first to take out the majority
at the height before using hedge trimmers to leave it off so another top
tip once you’ve trimmed all your hedges is that you can compost all of the
clippings now just bear in mind that head clippings are probably going to be
quite high in brown carbon so you may need to add some grass clippings or with
a green nitrogen-rich material to help break them down if your clippings are
too large I tend to mow over them with a lawn mower just to break them up it’s an
easy way to Hoover them up if it’s on the grass and then I pour them into my
compost bin and just let them rot down so another question that I get asked
frequently is – how to renovate an old mangled hedge and people write in to me
and say do I rip it up and start again what do we do? Now the answer is
relatively simple yes you can renovate an old hedge with a bit of time and
patience now behind me you’ll see the remnants of what was over here you can
see up there a really old out-of-control Hawthorne hedge by using a chainsaw I’ve
cut this back by about two-thirds down to the ground probably about three or
four feet off the ground what that will do is send all the energy that was in
the top growth down to those remains stands and send out new growth and I’ll
show you some of that now now it’s not a quick fix and it’ll probably take a
couple of season this week just start to put on new growth and look like a hedge
again but it does show you that you don’t need to rip things out to start
again you can renovate and prove with the right tools. So there we have it
Garden Ninjas quick and speedy way to keep your hedges in tip-top condition if
you have liked this video why not subscribe to my youtube channel but
there were loads more garden design hints tips and hacks to help you make
your garden Boursin I’ve been Garden Ninja- happy gardening!

5 thoughts on “How to trim hedges: the ultimate guide for perfect garden hedges

  1. It's been a busy week at Garden Ninja HQ cutting hundreds of meters of hedging. So I thought it would be a good time to show all my garden hacks on cutting hedges. It doesn't need to be a drama and these tips should help sve you time and effort in the garden! Let me know your thoughts below or any garden questions you may have. Happy gardening! Lee Garden Ninja

  2. Hello just watched your hedge cutting video which I found very useful. I have a wide privet hedge, I wondered if I could cut it back to narrow it down, with some loppers I have. The start of august I cut back a foot wide section and 5 feet high. I can see that it is already sprouting new growth. Following your advice, I will cut back all the hedge in February, that hopefully will give it time to recover the the time winter comes again.
    Its a lovely hedge just to wide to get up n down the path. Your vid has giving me the confidence to do this now.
    And If Im likely to kill it, try to let me know before next February.
    Keep producing the great videos, very informative. Cheers.

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