How To Trim The Hedges
I trim our hedges around this time of year, every year.
It’s a rewarding task that leaves you with a sense of self reliance.
A little research suggests that, each time I do the work myself, I’m saving around £450.00 -probably more!
Which is all the reason I need to keep going.
Disclosure: Based on personal opinion, not to be taken as advice. Seek a professional if required.
How To Trim Hedges: Equipment
It’s important to have the right equipment for the job, especially when trimming hedges. The right gear, and behaviour, can minimise the risk of injury. For a more on safety, check out B&Q’s Safety Guidance on their website here.
Also, make sure you read the guidance that came with your equipment, and seek a professional if you require further instruction.
Here’s what I used to trim the hedges (and why):
SOVEREIGN EASY GARDENING 550 HEDGE TRIMMER
I paid about £35 for these electric hedge trimmers 3 years ago! While basic, they still get the job done. These trimmers have the dual button/lever safety system, where you hold down a lever with one hand while activating the trimmer with the other, ensuring you have a proper grip before it switches on. It has a bright red cord, making it easy to keep it safely away from the business end of the trimmer.
EXTENSION CABLE (CABLE REEL)
The plug and cord attached to the electric hedge trimmer doesn’t extend far enough to reach a house socket – So I need this extension cable reel to safely extend the reach.
If you’re DIY minded, you’ll already have a pair of these. Useful for a number of tasks, these googles offer protection from the front and sides. Ideal for stopping any small objects from flying into your eyes!
I use standard garden gloves which offer a grip on the palm and fingers. You want to wear something that offers a grip and some protection from flying bits.
As you go along, there’ll be areas of the hedge that you can’t reach, or need manual attention. Normally it’s the area below the hedges, where some plants may need a little attention.
Pruners come in handy for the same reasons as the shears. These will cut a thicker branch.
The rake is to gather the trimmings together for the green bin.
I wore a T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and trainers. You don’t want to wear anything too loose fitting that could get caught in the trimmer, or that could prohibited your movement. Also, you don’t want your footwear to slip off while you’re working.
When Should I Trim The Hedges?
There are a few things to considered before you start attacking the hedges.
Here’s my checklist:
1. A dry day, with a dry forecast – You don’t want to cut hedges in wet conditions… because you obviously don’t want your electrical items getting wet.
2. No birds nesting – I wait until late summer before pulling out the power tools because we usually have nesting birds! In the UK, it’s an offence to disturb nests while in use. If I need to tidy an area of hedge earlier in the year, I’ll use manual garden shears.
3. No obstructions in the garden – I make sure there are no garden objects or obstructions to get in the way while I’m working.
Cutting Hedges – A Frugal DIY Project
This year I spread the work over 3 days.
My Conifer hedges are tall and cover two long lengths of the garden. If you find yourself with a lot to do, be sure to plan breaks. It’s easy to work long hours without stopping because you’re trying to get it done. Take your time and put your safety first. Think about sunscreen, water, food, and take rest breaks.
Before trimming, I run my hand over the hedge to check for any thick branches near the surface of the hedge, which could potentially damage my electric trimmers. If I find any, I’ll cut them manually, a little further back than I plan to trim the hedge. This is so I can run the trimmers over the area to get an even finish on the surface.
Visualise the depth you want to cut back to, then trim back to it, just a little at a time. Checking that the hedge is healthy enough inside, to sustain the cut. You don’t want to cut too deeply, as you could kill the hedge!
I started with the hedge inner walls and spent 2 days cutting them back. Then, I spent 1 day working the tops and outer sides, which appear over the garden fence.
My wife was there to help me on the day I trimmed the tops and sides as I needed to use a step stool. I ensured the stool was stable, and my wife added weight and kept it steady. It was handy to have someone to pass the trimmer down to, help with the wire positioning, and make sure the environment was safe to work in. Anytime you work with a power tool from a ladder or step stool, you have to take the upmost care.
Pretty soon my green bin was full, so I started a pile of green waste under my tree – I do that every year, slowly filling up the green bin as it’s emptied.
It was great to stand back and see the fruits of my labour. Now, I’ll put up my feet for another year!
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