Keeping Hedges In Shape

Whether you just have a hedge on one side of your garden or, like David Hall, a garden with laurel hedges on all sides, they will need to be pruned to retain their shape and density.

Created by David Hall on Wednesday, 26th of August, 2015.
Updated on Monday, 31st of August, 2015.


August is an excellent month to cut hedges, once their nitrogen fuelled spring surge of growth is dissipating. After shearing, the remaining nitrogen will encourage side shoots, so thickening the hedge.

Regular cutting will also mean that you are pruning soft growth rather than wood, which is harder work and will leave a unattractive structure of bereft of leaves.

Before cutting any hedge between gardens and reducing its height, remember to consult your neighbour. They will probably be thankful that you are saving them a job, but it's better to be safe than to have an angry neighbour threatening legal action.

It's also important to check for birds' nests before you start or may fall foul of the law if they are disturbed. On the subject of birds, some species such as hawthorn and blackthorn are a valuable food source, so should be cut quite late in the year.

The amount of times a hedge needs pruning depends to a large extent on their rate of growth. For holly this might only be once a year in late summer, but conifers might need attention two or three times. Box and other formal hedges need to be kept neat and tidy perhaps twice a year in the spring and late summer.

For young hedges its best to use shears or secateurs, before moving on to powered trimmers when the hedge matures. After pruning, preferably on an overcast day, the hedge will benefit from watering and mulching. 

Small Leaved Hedges

Small leaved hedges, such as privet, can be cut regularly to form a dense shape. When a new hedge is becoming established cut back the spring growth by about half. When the hedge matures, cut the growth back to a few buds and continue to do this on an annual basis.

Ensure that the top of the hedge is narrower than the base to ensure that sunshine will reach the lower branches and to aid its stability. And choose a cool day rather than a sunny one, so that the the leaves' cut edges don't dry out too quickly.

Conifers And Large Leaved Hedges

If you have a conifer hedge. including the much maligned leylandii, it's important to remember not to cut back into wood as it will not regrow. From early on cut out the top regularly to encourage side shoots from and a dense formal hedge will emerge.

Although it is tremendously time consuming, especially if the hedge is large, secateurs are recommended for large leaved hedges as this avoids unsightly half cut leaves and die back.

Mature large leaved hedges should be pruned back when stem growth has pretty much ceased and they are starting to turn woody. This will be towards the end of June into July. Eliminate all growth that doesn't correspond with the desired shape and prune back the new season's growth to about three leaves.

Related Articles

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In September

What To Do In The Garden In September

The record breaking temperatures over August bank holiday will have got many people out into the garden and, although autumn is only just around the corner, David Coton can suggest these September jobs.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 29th of August, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In August

What To Do In The Garden In August

After the recent spell of hot weather, David Coton was glad to see the recent rain freshening up the Garden Centre and he has these suggestions for some of the jobs that need to be done during August.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 27th of July, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

David Hall David Hall

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Grange Launch Their New Products For 2018

Grange Launch Their New Products For 2018

David Coton was recently invited to the exclusive launch of Grange's new products for 2018, the result of significant investment that the garden structures and fencing firm have received from their Polish parent company.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 30th of October, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In November

What To Do In The Garden In November

David Coton suggests that there are plenty of gardening jobs that need to be done in November, from why you shouldn't throw away your fallen leaves to how to take care of your vegetable patch.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 27th of October, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.