How to Trim a Tall Hedge


Hedges are ornamental plants, usually trees or shrubs, used in the yard to protect the homeowner's privacy and beautify the landscape. Hedges are also used to mark boundaries on a property. Shrubs and trees used as hedges need to be trimmed regularly to improve appearance and ensure the hedge stays on your side of the property. Tall hedges are dense and compact, so as soon as thin, spindly branches appear, the whole aesthetic is ruined.

Step 1

Cut the top of your hedge at the desired height. You may need a ladder to read the top. Doing this several years in a row will ensure it grows to the height you prefer.

Step 2

Trim the sides so that they are equal on each side, being wider at the bottom of the hedge and thinner at the top, like a pyramid. Cut away any long branches that stick out from the hedge. Use heavy cord attached to the ground and tied to the top of the hedge to determine the best angle at which to cut the hedge and keep lines straight.

Step 3

Remove any branches that are dead or broken to prevent disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy cord


  • Extension of Missouri Extension: Pruning Ornamental Shrubs
  • Kansas State University: Hedges in the Home Landscape
  • Perdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Hedges
Keywords: tall hedge, trimming hedges, hedge maintenance

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.