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Landscaping 101

How to trim bushes

5 min read

how to trim hedges

Wondering how to trim bushes like a pro? Surely your garden has some natural barrier of vegetation, either for delimiting purposes, or with other more aesthetic or ornamental ones. To achieve well-trimmed and uniform hedges, periodic maintenance is required to prevent the uncontrolled growth of the branches of these trees or shrubs.

With the arrival of spring, and to keep the shape of our hedges as neat as possible, it is necessary that you carry out a first pruning between the months of April and May. The other one will be done in September, at the end of the summer. Even so, the number of prunings will depend on the climate (up to four a year may be necessary). In early spring, pruning is carried out once the first shoots have matured. This way, you will stop rapid and uncontrolled growth and ensure that the plant continues to grow more vigorously, especially if you want to give it a specific shape.

Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to trim bushes this year.

Types of hedges

There are two different typologies that will determine the shape and appearance of your hedge, and therefore, the design of your garden.

Informal hedge

If you decide to let your plants grow freely, you must also carry out regular pruning to control their growth and adapt them to the garden, always keeping their natural appearance. These types of hedges require less maintenance and are preferable for larger gardens. What you will do is remove the dry, dead branches or those that protrude too much.

Some of the most common hedges that are allowed to grow freely are those that flourish, such as rose bushes, camellias or oleanders.

Formal hedge

Formal hedges are those in which you can trim to capture a certain shape. In other words, you define their growth in a concrete way. Because of this, they need regular pruning.

To carry out this work, it is recommended to use professional grade cutters that guide in pruning to obtain the best result. In the case of shrubs such as conifers, you must always ensure that the base is wider than the top so that the sun can reach all branches. Cut the lateral branches from the base without touching the crown until it has reached the expected height. When this happens, the trimmings that are carried out each year will be designed to maintain their shape and height. Among these shrubs, some of the most common types are cypresses and yews.

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Pruning types

Depending on the type and condition of the hedge to be pruned, you should opt for one pruning technique or another:

Maintenance pruning

The objective of this type of pruning is to maintain the shape of the hedge and its leafiness. This pruning is done once the new shoots have matured, cutting them in a straight line about four or five inches. With one or two maintenance trimmings a year is usually enough.

Renovation pruning

Depending on the state of the hedge, you can opt for more intense pruning, cutting about three-fourths of the ends of the shoots in order to favor the appearance of strong branches, or less intense pruning, cutting two thirds of the shoots with fruit so that the shoots left behind grow stronger. It is advisable to practice it only once a year during the winter.

Radical pruning

When you have a few years old hedges in your garden, leafless areas may appear, which makes them lose some of their original charm. In radical pruning you will make a cut to the level of the thickest trunk, which will cause the growth of new branches more densely. It must be done in winter.

Types of hedge trimmers

Your local hardware store has a wide range of machinery and tools for maintaining your hedges. You can use pruning shears for thicker branches or manual hedge trimmers for thinner branches (mainly maintenance pruning). Likewise, there is a range of battery pruning shears and hedge trimmers that will greatly facilitate your work, saving you time.

Don't forget to keep the trimming blades sharp. Always safety first! Be sure to use the necessary protective equipment while trimming your bushes. Finally, do not neglect the hygiene of your cutting machines and utensils to avoid the transmission of diseases from one plant to another.

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