Hedges often serve as boundaries to properties and make for a fair degree of security to them. They require some time to get established, and it is not uncommon to set up a barbed-wire fence as intermediate protection, till the fence has grown and assumed its job of guarding the property or serving as a decorative part of your garden.

Hedges function the best when they are dense and compact, and this can be ensured by regular trimming. Some hedges that are formal and decorative may require more frequent trimming than the others. A new hedge will require to be trimmed and pruned for the first couple of years after it has been planted so that it gets properly formed. The best time for formative trimming is early in spring or during the winter. When you have an informal hedge that serves as your property boundary, you can trim or prune it once a year. A formal hedge may need to be cut two or three times a year. Avoid the nesting season that birds may use your fence for. This season normally runs from March to August.

You can use hand-held trimmers for small hedges, but if you want to help to reduce the effort of trimming you can always use hedge trimmers that can be petrol-driven or use electricity. Make sure that whatever equipment you use, has cutting edges of your trimmer or hedge shears which are sharp. If you are using equipment make sure that it is properly lubricated. Work safe, and use safety gloves and goggles. Ensure that the path you are going to use while trimming the hedge is clear and free of any obstacles. As far as possible work from the ground, but if you are needed to use ladders or other platforms, make sure that they are stable and will not move when you are putting in any effort for the trimming. Be extra careful when you are using trimmers that are powered by electricity, and avoid using them in damp conditions.

Most edges will not have a width of more than 2 feet, and once you have decided the width that you want, always make sure that this width is maintained by proper trimming. Formal hedges need to have a small batter with the base being wider than the top, as this will give them more stability. Tie a string that is taut between two canes so that it acts as a guide when you are trimming the top of the hedge. Use a template if you are cutting the hedge to any particular shape, and cut it with the help of the template. You will need to move the template as you proceed with the trimming so that the entire hedge has the same shape. Hedge trimmer blades must be kept parallel to the hedge and work must be carried out from bottom to top as this will allow the foliage to fall away.

Boundary hedges will grow quickly and can overhang the street. It is a must that you trim the hedges so that they never impede pedestrians. This may require you to do the trimming more often, but it will be the right thing to do.


There is no-doubt hedges offer a lot of benefits such as increasing property value, used for beautification, expressing one’s artistic side, and also to mark property boundary or s specific portion of a garden. To achieve a denser and compact hedge, it needs trimming. However, the million-dollar question is: when should a hedge be trimmed? In other words, what is the right time to do it?

Well, the good news is that; a hedge generally needs little care (at most trimming twice a year). Pruning a landscape hedge at the right time will help it develop to its optimum form while preventing it from overgrown or becoming too large. Nevertheless, before you start trimming, it is wise to disinfect cutting tools in a solution of bleach and water (ration 1:9, respectively) to prevent issues related to diseases.

It is important to remember that when it comes to hedge pruning, a few factors must be taken into consideration. For example, Formal (fully-grown) hedges require frequent trimming than informal (young or newly planted) hedges. Therefore, before getting too deep into edging, you first have to consider the kind or its growth stages.

In a nutshell, you need to account for the following:

• Newly Planted Hedges

New hedges generally need some kind of trimming after planting. These plants must be planted late in winter or spring before they are fully awake from dormancy. They can also be planted during fall or summer when they are actively growing. Pruning newly planted hedge involves cutting back upright stems to about 7 inches. This encourages branching and needs care.

• Deciduous Hedges

A deciduous hedge is a type of hedge that losses its leaves in autumn. For this reason, maintenance trimming should only be done early spring, before new leaf buds begin to break. Some only need removing deadwood. It is important to note that spring rejuvenation trimming keeps these hedges healthy and compact. You can also trim broken or badly grown branches as needed through the summer.

• Evergreen Hedges

If you live in areas where you do not experience snow, then you can plant evergreen hedges. These types of hedges do not really have a specified time for pruning. However, the best time to trim them is after when they are dormant or before breaking its dormancy (this is late winter or early spring). You may also need regular but light summer trimming to prevent brunch overgrowth or simply to control summer growth.

• Flowering Hedge

Trimming flowering hedges demands care and sometimes patience. That is because if you time flowering hedges at the wrong time, they will not be able to produce flowers the following season. Some hedge plants begin flowering, starting from late summer through to winter. These types of plants need spring trimming.

On the other hand, there are those plants that begin to flower early spring or summer. This type of plant can be trimmed immediately after flowering no-matter the season. If a plant produces its flower buds on old wood, then it is wise to prune immediately after its current blooming season is over. If flower boom on newly formed branches, then you can prune late winter when new growth is starting to take hold.