Whether you have a newer privacy hedge or you’ve had one on your property but you didn’t know how to take care of it is important to determine what purpose your privacy hedges will serve.
Determining the Right Shape of Your Privacy Hedges
Before you begin trimming your hedges it is important to know what you will be growing them for.
The healthiest privacy hedges have a slight “A” shape, allowing sunlight to reach to the ground level. This keeps the roots and main stems healthy. If your privacy hedge has been trimmed before with the bottom narrower than the top, reshape it in the summer months after it is in full leaf. Reshape evergreen hedges in the late summer and fast-growing hedges in July and September.
Using a Hedge Trimmer to Prune Privacy Hedges
Use the hedge trimmer on its lowest speed until you are familiar with its movement, vibration and other characteristics. Always use two hands when using a hedge trimmer. For a square-topped privacy hedge, move the hedge trimmer sideways with the blades flat along the hedge top, to groom the hedge evenly to the desired height. Glide the hedge trimmer upward from the bottom to the top to remove unwanted growth from the sides. Remember not to trim inward close to the hedge bottom. To create a rounded top, start trimming with an upward stroke about 3 inches from the hedge top. Slope the hedge trimmer blades away from your body, toward the center of the hedge, on a slight angle to create the curve. Repeat the sloped cut on the other side of the hedge.
Thin Out Excess Growth Inside the Privacy Hedge
Once you have shaped and cleaned the outside of the privacy hedge, you can see easily where excess growth and twisted branches inside need thinning. Put on work gloves and use the short-handled manual hedge pruning shears to trim inside the hedge. Lop off the unwanted twigs as close to their main parent branch as possible. Trim off dead branches to promote new growth where you want it.