Hedges are a great way to block out neighbours, provide protection from weather and to add shape to your garden. Establishing and maintaining a hedge doesn’t have to be an arduous task if you follow our simple tips.
How to trim a hedge:
Hedging is not just about shaping the outside to form the hedge shape, if you trim purely visual like this you will end up with a hedge that is thick on the outside but lifeless on the inside. It is important to ensure sunlight can penetrate your hedge. Here’s our tips on how best to trim your hedge:
- Pruning sparks new growth so start by removing any dead branches and thick branches near the base, secateurs and loppers are best used for this. This will allow light to penetrate and encourage new dense foliage to fill the gap.
- Move on to trimming the sides - taper your hedge so it is narrower on top and wider at the bottom, this helps the base get sunlight. The tapering can be very subtle so as not to be noticeable.
- Finish by levelling the top.
- Trimming can be stressful for the plant so now is a good time to apply a dose of fertiliser to encourage new growth. Compost or a slow release fertiliser is best.
- Trim regularly for the best shape.
When and How often to trim:
Hedges require regular maintenance to remain in optimal condition. Trimming 3-4 times a year suits most shrubs. Flowering shrubs should be pruned after flowering has finished or before buds form. A hard trim is best given while the plant is dormant in late Autumn. Light tidy ups can be done at any time of the year.
If your hedge has been left to its own devices, it will more than likely require a more harsh cutback to restore its bushy/full appearance, this may result in bald patches for a while but it is best to let sunlight in so the inner foliage can regrow. Be warned some species do not handle harsh cutbacks. Conifers do not respond well to having old wood cut, so keep on top of them regularly.
Establishing new hedges:
Hedges should be trimmed from an early stage to build the desired shape and encourage bushy growth. New hedges should have their tops trimmed but the sides can be left untouched to promote growth.
These can be created using dense hedge varieties such as box. Topiary shears will give you much more control to create angles and curves compared to regular hedging shears. It is best to create a shaped guide to ensure you shape your plant evenly.
- Use a tarp under your hedge to make clean-up easier
- Use loppers/secateurs for the initial tidy up work
- Use hedging shears for tops and sides
- Use topiary shears for more intricate shaping
- A stringline can assist with obtaining straight lines, if your hedge is regularly maintained you can give a tidy up by eye.
Nice sharp edges add a whole new level of order to a garden, they are especially important around hedges to not only create that polished look but to ensure unwanted weeds don’t grow under your hedge where they can’t be reached.
To create an edge, use these simple steps:
- Use a hose or stringline to mark out the shape of your edge prior to cutting.
- Edges can be cut using a spade or edger tool.
- Use the spade or edger to cut a 90 degree vertical edge, 10-15cm deep into the grass.
- Remove the grass from the inside of the bed, ensure you dig out the grass deep enough to get all the roots.
- Mulch the bed but leave the mulch lower than the level of the grass, this allows for a more defined edge and will allow for easier trimming of the grass edge in the future.
- To maintain your edges, use edging shears to create a sharp edge between your grass and garden bed.
The Darlac tool range has a wide range of hedging and edging tools including the revolutionary tri-blade shear which makes hedging twice as fast. The Darlac telescopic edging shears make light work of garden edges and their light, telescopic arms mean no back breaking bending!
View the Darlac Tool range here.