Trimming hedges, the right time

A woman kneeling timming a boxwood topiary hedge.

When should a hedge be trimmed, what is the right timing, and how should one go about it best?

Often used to mark property boundaries, or simply to fence out special portions of the garden, a hedge usually requires little care: at most, trimming once or twice a year.

Follow our advice to get nice hedges all year round.

The right time to trim a hedge

Hedges are usually grown from shrubs that have two vegetation phases within a year, one in spring and another at the end of summer.

Best is to wait for these growth periods to slow down, so that the shape you give them will stay for a longer period of time.

  • Consequently, you’ll trim your hedge in April-May and September-October.

But this isn’t an obligation that must be scrupulously followed, because hedges can be trimmed more often; it only means that more work is needed.

As for flowered hedges, wait for the blooming to be over before pruning.

Techniques to trim a hedge

Trimming a hedge well helps maintain it over the years, ensuring sufficient density to remain opaque and optimizing hedge growth.

  • The base must be trimmed wider than the tip.
    This helps give light to all the shrubs that are part of the hedge.
  • Use an electric or gas-powered hedge trimmer for hedges longer than 16 feet (5 m) long, for better accuracy and especially easier workload.
  • Use pruners for the larger branches.
  • Shears are more accurate, which helps for lower hedges.

Shrubs that make for good hedges

There are a great many hedge shrubs, but some are particularly well suited to hedges because they cope well with pruning.

Indeed, strawberry tree, wild privet, weigela, cypress, camellia, photinia, and flowering currant are perfect for hedges.

Video – the right way to plant hedges

Smart tip about pruning and trimming hedges

Try to get a hold of a long roll of burlap or a tarpaulin, and lay it on the ground near the hedge.

Trimmings will fall onto it and picking them up is easy. You’ll save a lot of time and the result will be perfectly clean!

Read more about pruning

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Trimming time ! by Ronald Porter ★ under Pixabay license