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How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

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Hedges protect your garden from harsh wind and weather, as well as providing an attractive visual barrier. Hedges need to be regularly maintained to keep them neat and healthy. Follow our guide to use your hedge trimmer like a professional.

Step 1

Hedge Trimming Tips before You Start

Hedge Trimming Tips before You Start

New hedges should be pruned from an early stage to establish a shape and prevent leggy, unhealthy growth. The amount you need to prune back will depend on the type of hedge. The hedge sides should not be vertical but sloping inwards at the top. This shape ensures the bottom leaves of the hedge get enough sunshine for healthy growth and will avoid a bare, dark hedge base. If a formal hedge has got out of shape, cutting it back severely is often the only remedy. However, this method is not suitable for all species, e.g. conifers will react badly if you cut into old wood. You may have to put up with a season of a bare hedge in order to get back to the healthy tapered shape. Always remember, it is important not to cut too early in the year to avoid disturbing nesting birds. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using a powered hedge trimmer and always wear the correct personal protection equipment.

Step 2

Lubricate Hedge Trimmer

Lubricate Hedge Trimmer

Lay a tarpaulin on the ground to protect it and catch your trimmings. You will need to move it along with you as you proceed along the hedge. Hedge trimmers work by the close action of the blades, just like a scissors, so before each use the trimmer should be lubricated. Using a spray oil, lubricate the blade from top to bottom on both sides of the blade. Wear heavy duty gloves, boots, and a proper helmet with face and ear protection.

Step 3

Cut Front Face of Hedge

Cut Front Face of Hedge

Stand with your feet apart for stability. Cut the front face of the hedge first. Modern double sided blades mean you can cut in broad sweeping arcs up and down the hedge.

Step 4

Cut Top of Hedge

Cut Top of Hedge

For trimming the top of the hedge, hold the trimmer firmly at about 10 degrees from horizontal. Use a wide scything motion to help sweep the trimmings off the top of the hedge onto your tarpaulin. Brace your lower elbow against your side to help support the weight of the trimmer and to keep the blades at the same height as you move along.

Step 5

Clear Away Hedge Trimmings

Clear Away Hedge Trimmings

When the tarpaulin is full drag it to your compost heap or bundle it into your wheelbarrow for disposal.