The most overlooked and undervalued landscaping plants are shrubs, hedges, and bushes. These plants have a natural beauty and can be used to enhance curb appeal and provide a complement to hardscapes such as walkways, patios, stone walls, and trees.
Many varieties of shrubs and bush can be used to create privacy screens, windbreaks, or “fences” along a boundary line. Many varieties remain green and vibrant throughout the year. Although shrubs, bushes, and hedges can increase the resale price of your home, they must be kept neatly trimmed.
Poorly maintained, unkempt, or poorly overgrown shrubs and bushes can have a negative effect on your home’s appearance and value. A hedge trimmer makes it easy to maintain these beautiful landscaping features. A recent survey found that nearly one-third (33%) of fathers enjoy making outdoor modifications to their homes. Planting and shaping hedges can be a great project to create your own private retreat in your backyard.
Here are detailed descriptions and tips on trimming hedges. A brief discussion with Rick Vermillion included on how to avoid injury when using a hedge trimming machine. For more safety tips, read this section attentively.
There are three types of hedge trimmers available: corded electric, gas-powered and corded cordless. There are a variety of sizes available, with the length of the cutting blade ranging between 16 and 24 inches. The size, location, cost, and personal preference of the trimmer you choose will all affect the choice.
The gas-powered trimmers are powerful machines that can cut thick branches fast and efficiently. Gas-powered trimmers aren’t tied to an extension cord so you can work wherever you like.
Gas trimmers are two-stroke engines, which require that you mix oil and gasoline precisely to achieve the right ratios. Prices range from $180 to $550. However, most models are between $290 to $360.
You should be aware that there may be restrictions on the use of gas-powered equipment in your area if it is governed by a homeowner’s association.
Corded electric hedge trimming machines are very popular due to their simplicity, quiet operation, and almost maintenance-free. You don’t need to worry about a pull cord, choke, exhaust fumes, gas, or oil. Attach the trimmer to an extended cord and you can start cutting.
The price range for electric trimmers is very reasonable, from $30 to $190. Most models are between $50 and $75. An extension cord is an obvious drawback. This not only limits your reach but also presents a danger when trimming.
People who live in areas with limited yards or shrubs close to an electric outlet will find the electric hedge trimmers most useful.
Cordless hedge trimming has been around for a while, but they’re only now being taken seriously because they have the best of both electric and gas trimmers.
The cordless trimmer allows you to move around your property without being tied down, just like a gas trimmer. It is quieter than an electrical trimmer. It is quick to start, produces no exhaust, and does not require oil or engine gas.
The size of the battery is directly related to performance, power, and cost. There are a variety of batteries available for cordless trimmers, ranging in voltage from 18 volts up to 56 volts. While higher-voltage batteries are more powerful and have longer run times, they are heavier and more costly. The price range for cordless hedge trimmers is $60-$500, with most being between $100 and $250.
Hedge trimmers can be very simple and fun to use. These trimmers have lightning speed and the precision that Hollywood hairstylists would use. They can be dangerous. It is crucial to always have both hands on the trimmer and to never hold a branch in one hand while cutting it with the trimmer. You run the risk of serious injury.
When using a hedge trimmer, be aware of what is around you. Clear away all obstructions from the area and check for wires or hoses hidden behind the hedge. Keep children and pets away from the work area. Be aware of the extension cord when using an electric trimmer.
Protect yourself by wearing protective eyewear, hearing protection, work gloves, and long-sleeve shirts, pants, and close-toed shoes.
How to Trim an Edge
These hedge-trimming techniques and tips can be used for all types of shrubs and bushes regardless of the type of trimmer. To maintain a tidy appearance, formal hedges should be trimmed at least three to four times per year. For informal hedges that are allowed to grow naturally, trimming is only necessary once or twice per calendar year.
Begin at the base of the hedge, and work your way to the top. Slowly and steadily move the cutting bar. Let the cutting action of your blades do the job. Do not try to cut too deep into the hedge in the first pass. You might lose too many branches. Instead, do several smaller passes and trim off a few inches at a stretch.
Trimming the sides of the hedge should be done at an angle so it is slightly wider at the bottom than at the top. This allows sunlight to reach the roots and lower branches, which makes the hedge greener and lusher.
To flatten the top of the hedge, place the trimming bar at the level of the ground and then slowly move the cutter left to right. Hedge trimmers cut in both directions. Remember to only trim a small amount at a given time.
You can trim small- to medium-sized hedges freehand to reach the desired height. To accurately trim long hedgerows it is best to place a taut nylon rope between two wooden stakes. This will represent the final height of the hedge. To achieve a straight and even cut, guide the trimmer along this line.
Once you have completed the first few passes, place the trimmer on the ground. Next, use your hands or a leaf rake to remove the fallen branches and leaves. Take a step back and inspect the hedge. Make a few final passes to trim the hedge until it is in its final form.
Next, take the branches apart by hand. Examine the inside of the shrub for any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. You can remove any damaged branches with bypass hand pruners if you find them.
You can rent or buy an extended-reach hedge trimming tool if you have to trim tall hedges. This is basically a standard trimmer attached to a long adjustable shaft. This tool is the safest and easiest way to trim tall branches, without needing to climb a ladder.
Start Trimming Your Own Bushes
You might feel awkward or tentative your first time using a hedge trimmer. But don’t be discouraged. After an hour, you will feel comfortable with how the trimmer feels in your hands. Remember to take your time and let the blades do the cutting. You’ll soon be trimming hedges like an expert.