The concept of garden hedging is very old; nearly 4000 to 6000 years, it was used to mark farm boundaries. Its basic use of creating barriers hasn't changed, but what has, is its utility in modern life. Hedges are now grown in many homes as well as public gardens. Home gardeners use them for privacy and protection of their gardens, while parks incorporate them to create borders and boundaries around and within the park to highlight different themes. Hedges need to be maintained and trimmed regularly to keep their look intact, and prevent them from forming gaps.
Tips to Trim a Hedge
Trimming a hedge is vital to its growth and training. How one goes about pruning the hedges, completely depends on the type of hedge and its usage.
Good Garden Tools
Garden tools are essential to a well-trimmed hedge look. The basic material required for trimming hedges are hedge shears (manual or electronic), garden stakes of varying sizes, strings, protective gloves for thorny hedges, and safety glasses for protection from flying twigs. A small, hand trimmer will do for very young hedges, or for a lesser number. But, if one has to prune a well-established hedge, or a large area, it would be better to invest in an electric or gasoline powered trimmer. Cordless, lightweight electric trimmers with rechargeable batteries are also available for those who do not want to use bulkier, electric hedge trimmers.
For young hedges, trim after a month of their planting, as they respond well to training. Trim off just a few inches at the top of the hedge, to help it grow more bushier and lateral branches. For established hedges, first determine its shape. To level hedges, it is not advisable to cut by just leveling with your eye. Place a bamboo garden stake at both ends of the hedgerow, and attach to it a string, at the height you wish to trim it down. Once you start trimming, follow the string line. Step back frequently, to assess both sides of the hedge. Preferably, shape the hedge wider at the bottom and tapered near the top. This will allow the sunlight to reach the bottom leaves, and prevent them from wilting. For hedges that have been shaped as a particular object, constant trimming of even the slightest overgrown twig has to be done or you can reshape it, provided you are good at understanding and creating shapes.
Hedge at the Right Time
As with any other plants, rushing through a trim job will not get you positive results. Frequent trimming will dry up the hedge or it will shed too many leaves, whereas not trimming at the right time will result in an overgrown hedge. The best time to trim a hedge is during the active, growing season. This way one can rectify any pruning mistakes, as the hedge will grow back soon. Most hedges can be trimmed in mid to late summer, which gives foliage time to grow back a bit before winter. One must avoid trimming around old wood at the base, as it will leave bare spots. One should only prune new, damaged or diseased growth.
Trimming depends on the type of shrubs one has, that is: evergreen or deciduous shrubs. Most tips involve trimming away overgrown or dead stems, to encourage new growth, and keep the hedge healthy and foliage bright green.