Hedges serve to screen areas of the landscape from wind and noise, hide unsightly areas of the landscape from view, and separate portions of the landscape. Hedges require regular upkeep to keep their neat, uniform shapes. Perform major pruning to thin the plant in the spring. Maintain the shape of the plant throughout the summer to perfect the look of this functional and beautiful addition to the landscape.
Perform major pruning in the spring to allow time for the plant to fill in over the growing season. Prune the top of the plant to a smaller width than the lower portions of the hedge. This plan allows plenty of light to reach the bottom of the plant and should limit the need to prune throughout the remainder of the growing season.
Monitor the condition of the plant weekly. Hedge varieties tend to grow quickly and easily become overgrown. Clip smaller branches at an angle to the nearest adjoining branch as you begin to notice these stragglers protruding from the uniform line of the hedge. An overgrown hedge may require pruning in stages to return the shrub to proper hedge form without shocking the plant.
Trim straggler branches using an appropriately sized pruning tool. Clip branches under 1/2 inch in diameter with hand pruning clippers. Prune large branches up to 2 inches in width with lopping shears. Reserve the use of hedge clippers and pruning saws for larger areas requiring pruning or big branches. Trimming hedges in the summer should not require the use of either of these tools unless the plant didn't receive proper spring pruning.
Trim each protruding branch level with the surrounding foliage by clipping at a 45-degree angle on the branch. This cut limits wound size on the branch and should be placed immediately above an outward facing bud. Avoid making random cuts to shape the plant. Always trim to the nearest major branch and never leave a stub when making a cut.
Collect all cuttings and dispose of properly in a compost pile or in yard waste bags. Proper cleanup limits the amount of debris on the ground that can house disease as well as rodents.