How Do You Trim Hedges?


Quick Answer

When trimming hedges, start from the top and work down to the base. Use either hedge shears or a power trimmer to cut the bush into the desired shape, but the base should be a little wider to allow plenty of sunlight.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose the tools

    Whether you are trimming the shrubs into a rounded or a square shape, you can do it either by looking at it, or by using string. If you choose the string method, acquire some stakes and string and pruning shears. For larger hedges, use a power trimmer, also called a pruning saw. For smaller hedges, hedge shears are easier.

  2. Set up the string

    Place the stakes in the ground on both ends of the hedge, and attach the string to both stakes at the same height and at the desired width of the hedge. Use the pruning shears to cut any branches that prevent the string from being taut and straight. Depending on the height of the hedge, another string can be set higher up and a little farther into the hedge. Do the same with the other sides and top of the hedge, making sure they're even. Alternatively, just estimate while trimming.

  3. Trim the top

    Using either the power trimmer or the hedge shears, start trimming at the top. Holding the shears flat, cut half of the top from one side, then switch to the other side. If you use the string, cut only what's outside of the string barrier. Otherwise, step back and check the work from a distance to make sure it's even.

  4. Trim the sides

    Trim the top flat, or round the corners and move down to the sides. Again, either trim anything outside of the strings or look at it from the side to make sure it's even. Trim from top to bottom using either the hedge shears or the power trimmer and holding them parallel to the hedge.

  5. Touch up where needed

    After the initial trimming is done, step back and look from the sides for any stragglers or indentation.

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