How to Cut a Straight Hedge

A well-manicured hedge can truly define your garden, whether it is in front of your property or at the back. Straight hedges are the hallmark of finesse when it comes to making your home stand out from the crowd, but there are a few things to bear in mind before you get started. We’ve put together our most valuable hedge trimming tips that will help you achieve that perfect finish.

When to Trim Hedges

Luckily, hedges are fairly low-maintenance compared to a lot of other garden features. Depending on what kind of hedge you have, you may only need to get the hedge-trimmer out once a year.

For instance conifer, holly, hornbeam or beech are usually cut once annually in the summer, whereas evergreen varieties are cut at least twice over a longer period from the spring to the autumn.

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Equipment

Before you even begin the cutting process, you need to make sure you have the right equipment for the job. There are a variety of hedge trimmers available, including petrol, electric and cordless machines. Electric hedge trimmers are usually flexible and powerful enough to cope with most domestic tasks, but there are petrol alternatives available for more demanding hedges.

For maximum efficiency, ensure the blades are sharp and oil them every 5-10 minutes as you are using the machine to prevent wear and tear that will ultimately harm your ability to cut a straight hedge.

The business of cutting hedges may not appear particularly treacherous, but it’s essential to wear appropriate eye protection at all time. Small pieces of debris will be flying all over the place and could potentially hit you in the eye, which risks not only causing significant damage, but throwing you off balance will a sharp piece of machinery in your hands.

Technique

For safety reasons, it’s best to wait for a dry day to cut your hedges. You don’t want to mix wet leaves or a slippery surface with heavy-duty gardening equipment.

When you’ve found a nice, dry day for your hedge-cutting, you want to start at the bottom of the hedge and sweep the hedgetrimmer upwards, flattening the blade against the hedge for a neat finish. It’s important to leave your hedge slightly wider at the bottom, as these leaves receive less light and won’t grow as fast as the leaves on top.

To trim the top of the hedge, you will need to align your dominant hand with the corresponding eye; so if you are right handed, line up your right hand on the front handle with your right eye and move the blade from left to right.

By following appropriate safety measures and using simple but effective technique, you can give your garden the attractive, well-groomed finish it deserves.

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