Hedge trimmers come in various types. Electric hedge trimmers are popular because they are quieter, environmentally friendly and lighter than gas models.
However, gas trimmers offer more cutting power and are the preferred choice for large scale operation. Trimmers require a lot of maintenance so be ready to put in the extra effort to keep them healthy and sharp.
In this article we go through in detail how to use a hedge trimmer for best results. Trimming your hedge properly depends on two factors;
1. The type of hedge you have
2. The shape you desire: Formal or informal shape/design
In all your hedging operation make sure that there aren’t any nesting birds on the hedge before you begin. Here is a little hedge trimming guide for the most popular plants out there:
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HollyIlex Aquifolium– Cut to shape once a year
Buxus– Trim down two to three times yearly
Lacteus – Cut after the fruiting season
Prunus– Cut twice during summer
Lavender – Trim down immediately after it flowers
Lawson cypress – trim down twice in summer and spring
Yew- Midsummer and autumn are the best times to trim down yew (Taxusbaccata)
Hornbeam plant: Cut in summer and spring
Hawthorn Plant: Same as with the hornbeam plant
Follow the tips outlined below to promote healthy growth of hedges:
1. Power connect the Hedge Trimmer
This has to be the most obvious first step to take. Without power you won’t get any work done. Ensure you use the right extension cord and make sure it has enough allowance to help you move the trimmer about. Remember to keep the extension cord behind you and the head of the trimmer at your front at all times.
2. What Shape do you want?
You ought to have decided on the shape you want to cut your hedge to before powering up the trimmer. The shape you choose is a determinant to how well the hedge grows. Trim out the hedge to a shape that allows sunlight to penetrate through the leaves. The best hedges come in an A-shape design that allows sunlight to get right down to the roots.
3. Trimming the Hedges
When actual trimming work begins, you need to guide the hedge trimmer with two hands. Start with the slowest speed until you are familiar with the motion and vibrations of the cutting blades. If you choose to maintain a square top hedge, glide the trimmer side to side along the top until you have leveled it.
To remove unwanted growth from the sides, glide the hedge from bottom to the top of the hedge. Don’t clean inwards towards the bottom in other not to distort the shape.
Rounded tops and corners
For rounded tops and corners, trim the hedge with a little stroke upwards from the top. Gently slope the hedge trimmer away from your body until you achieved the desired rounded top or curved corner. Repeat this process for every corner or rounded head you want.
Cutting Straight lines
Measuring straight lines to cut by eye is difficult. Most hedge keepers prefer to use strings to ensure accurate straight lines are drawn. Use two canes or woods to hold strings on either side of your hedge before guiding the trim blades along those lines.
I’d like to reiterate that your hedge needs enough sunlight for healthy growth. Tapering the hedge at the sides allows that to happen. Taper the hedge so that the top is slightly thinner than the bottom
4. Remove excess growth within the hedge
After you must have worked on the outside, it becomes easy to see excess growth areas within the hedge. At this point a robust hedge trimmer won’t be suitable to thin them out. Instead opt for manual hedge shears to prune out excess growth and twisted branches.
Prune off dead branches and unwanted twigs as close as possible to the parent branch. This will give some allowance for healthy hedge growth.
5. Clean Up
This is the final stage of trimming with a reliable hedge trimmer. You must clean up after work. Using a rake, gather around the twigs, dead branches and leaves into a bag or wheelbarrow. Dispose of the waste properly in accordance with existing environmental laws.
Precautions to follow
1. Ensure you use the right extension cords with an adequate wire thickness
2. Allow for some extension allowance to help you trim the top of the hedge
3. Always work with the extension cord behind while the trimmer stays at your front
4. Never use an electric trimmer under the rain
5.The best time of the day to trim hedges is usually at the early hours of the day
6. The clothing you chose to wear must be tight-fitting and sturdy. They should offer some protection and not snag on branches during trimming.
7. Protect your feet with sturdy no slipcover shoes
We have come a long way. I hope this useful post is just what you needed on how to successfully use a hedge trimmer.
Decide on what shape is best for your hedge before proceeding to trim them to size.
Don’t forget to use protective clothing.