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.