When your property has been graced with a hedge, homeowners often know the kind of look they’re trying to achieve but they aren’t quite sure how to go about achieving it. Another problem that is often faced is knowing how to cut evenly – if one side of the shrub is on a little more of an angle than the other, the whole effect can be ruined. In this article, we have outlined a basic guide that is designed to help you use hedge trimmers to cut evenly.
Formal or Informal?
The first thing you must determine is whether you want your hedges to have a formal or an informal appearance. Formal shrubs are, more often than not, cut in straight lines both horizontally and vertically (as well as on any angles). This results in the boxy shapes we’re very familiar with, including rectangles and triangles. Informal shrubs are, more often than note, cut in such a way that a more natural look and shaped is achieved, such as rounded edges.
Preparing to Trim
Before you even think about picking up your hedge trimmers, you need to ensure that the shrubs are properly prepared. This involves building a framework around them, working in 10 feet sections. Hammer stakes into the ground and tie string between them at your desired height. Do the same on the opposite side of the hedge and ensure that the strings are level. This can be achieved by holding a spirit level lightly on top of the string; have someone help adjust as needed.
Ready to Trim
Now, you can take your hedge trimmers and run them across the top, removing the growth between the strings on either side of the shrub to achieve a nice, level finish. Next, take another four stakes and hammer them into the ground a little further in or out (depending on where the original stakes were placed) and tie a string between them. This time, you’ll be focusing on the bottom of the hedge. You can run the trimmers across the bottom of the shrubbery.
It is important to also trim the sides of the hedge, focusing on the area between the two strings at the top and bottom. This will provide an angled finish to the shrub that serves two purposes. Firstly, it will allow sunlight to reach the lower growth areas (this helps to maintain healthy shrubbery). Secondly, it will help to make the growth stronger should your property experience heavy snowfalls (admittedly, this is not a problem in all climates).
It is important to note that the instructions provided above mainly apply to hedges that have been neglected. Once you have completed all of the legwork, your hedge trimmers will be able to follow these initial cuts when you trim the growth in future – you won’t need to re-stake. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t wait for the shrubbery to get out of hand and become unrecognisable – you should keep an eye on it and cut when required.