When to Trim Hedges ?

by Raymond Archambault

A tangled mess of hedges can make even the prettiest backyard appear unpleasant and unkempt. In order to keep your yard from looking untidy, it’s advisable to just prune the hedges when they’re ready to do so. 

The actual dilemma is, with the variety of plant hedges that exist, how do you determine when it’s time to prune yours? 

Before we get into the specifics, bear in mind that simple bypass pruners are ideal for practically every hedge type. Formal hedges, on the other hand, benefit greatly from the use of hedge trimmers and shears of various kinds. Telescopic hedge trimmers, which are readily available on the market, are an excellent option for cutting tall hedges. 

It is also important to remember that you should disinfect your pruning shears in a solution of water and bleach before beginning to prune. While you’re pruning, you’ll be keeping your plants healthy by doing so. 

Continuing on, how about we get down to business and address the topic of when to cut your hedges? 

Hedge trimmer


New Hedges

It is common for newly planted hedges to need to be pruned as soon as they’ve been planted. Planting hedges in the spring or winter takes advantage of the plants’ still-recovering inertness.

Some individuals like to do their planting in the spring or fall, when the greenery is just beginning to come back to life. It is better to prune spring-planted hedges immediately after planting.

But if you want to trim your summer-planted hedges, you could wait until the end of the summer, when the plants become dormant. In order to encourage branching when the hedges re-grow in the spring, cut the straight stems down to six to eight inches in height.

Adding new branches to hedges will make them appear denser and fuller. They’ll also be easier to sharpen or maintain after they’ve reached their full growth potential.


Flowering Hedges

When it comes to flowering hedges, timing is everything. Pruning the hedges too early or too late might result in a lack of flowering in the next year. Shrubs that bloom in the summer and spring are generally pruned as soon as the flowers appear, regardless of the season.

As soon as the current season’s bloom is finished, prune any plant that has developed flower buds on the old wood.  To encourage blossoming on fresh wood, prune the hedges in the late winter before new growth begins.


Evergreen Hedges

Trimming evergreen hedges is most effective right before they emerge from dormancy, which is generally in the late winter or early spring. Early and mid-spring is the best time of year to trim evergreen hedges like boxwoods.

Pruning throughout the summer months can also slow down explosive growth, so be sure to do so. Formal hedges, particularly those that have been carefully shaped and clipped, will require summertime trimming. Light pruning is all that is needed for informal hedges. This is purely for the purposes of removing dead branches and limiting the height and width at which the plant may grow.


Deciduous Hedges

It’s common for people to treat deciduous hedges that don’t produce flowers as informal hedges. Because of this, minimal pruning in the early spring is all that is necessary. This is only for the sake of upkeep.

Light pruning and deadwood removal are all that is needed to keep barberry bushes in USDA zones 5 through 9 from becoming too tall or wide. Even in the midst of the heat of summer, the hedges benefit from a gentle spring pruning to maintain their shape and health.

However, if there are any branches that are in desperate need of pruning when the summer season arrives, go ahead and prune them.


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