Having trouble trimming your hedges? Here are four tips that will help you get the beautifully preened hedgerows of your dreams.
Start Trimming Early and Often
Hedge trimming can be a somewhat time-consuming job, which is why many people make the mistake of neglecting the task until it's absolutely necessary. However, while this may seem like a great way to save time and effort, it can actually end up being the opposite. As hedges grow, their branches become thicker and woodier, making them even harder to trim. Trimming your hedgerows regularly when they're young will help avoid this problem, ensuring they're always easy to cut.
Trim Hedges Gradually
Another mistake homeowners make when trying to cut down on trimming time is pruning off large chunks of hedge at once. But, unless you're very lucky, this a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later, you're bound to make a mistake and butcher your beautiful hedge by cutting too much. You'll then have to wait for it to regrow, which can leave you with an unsightly hedgerow for months. Instead, try to trim gradually, taking small amounts off and building up. An electric hedge trimmer moves fast, so trimming slowly will help you avoid wrong moves.
Sharpen Your Trimmer Blades
Just like a kitchen knife or a saw, a hedge trimmer's blades need to be kept sharp. If you allow them to get too blunt over time, they'll start making your trimming job take twice as long. A hedge cut with a blunt trimmer also won't be as smoothly shaped. If you feel confident, you can sharpen the blades yourself with a sharpening file, removing any build-up with a whetstone. Afterwards, spray the trimmer blades with resin solvent to prevent rusting. If you don't think you're up to the task of blade sharpening, you can always take your hedge trimmer to a local landscaping dealer and pay them to do it for you.
Catch the Clippings as You Work
While hedge trimming can be a lot of work, it's nothing compared to the work of cleaning up the cuttings that are left behind. Thankfully, you can make light work of the clean-up by catching the debris as you trim. Attach a catcher plate to your hedge trimmer to hold the clippings from the top of your hedge while you work. To catch trimmings from the bottom of the hedge, lay a large garden sheet down before you begin cutting. When you're done, just scoop up the sheet and tip the debris into your compost heap. If there are any rogue clippings left behind, you can usually scoop them up with a lawnmower.