A well-trimmed hedge is like a work of art, but hedging is more complex than cutting out an ordinary sculpture. Hedges are living plants, and can be strengthened by careful pruning or damaged by careless or poorly informed cutting. Always put the health of the plant first, and you will have a vibrant, living sculpture for many years to come.
Hedge Trimmer Maintenance
Keeping your hedge trimmer in good working condition is important to the health of your hedges. Sharpen the blades at least once a year or, if you do a lot of hedging, twice a year. According to Landscape Juice, having dull blades can damage the hedges, particularly certain species such as box and yew. Within a few days, they will "become brown and ugly" around the edges from being damaged by the hedge trimmers. Your trimmer will also work less efficiently if the air filter becomes clogged, the spark plug corrodes or other parts are not well maintained.
Begin with pruning cuts to safeguard the health of your hedge, them move on to training cuts. Excise any dead or damaged branches, cutting them back until they meet healthy limbs. Next, trim the sides, cutting back lateral branches to give the hedge the desired shape you want. Finally, trim the top of the hedge. Cut by moving the blade of the trimmer from right to left while holding your left arm near your body.
Be aware of the different needs of different hedges. According to Landscape Juice, beech should be trained into a basic form in winter and trimmed again in late summer to tidy up the shape. prune in winter to re-shape and trim in late summer (hard) to tidy up. By contrast, privet should be trimmed in April, according to Our Garden Gang.