The Best Time to Trim or Cut Hedges

Updated February 21, 2017

Whatever the reason for planting hedges, they are an investment and should be treated as such. With proper care, hedges grow and create a wonderful addition to the home and garden. Cutting and trimming at the right times is critical to the survival of hedges.

Cutting Hedges

Cut newly planted hedges back by removing the top one-third when you first plant them. Then, repeat the same amount again the second year. This encourages thick growth and more foliage. Cut the main stems on a 45-degree slant or angle, instead of straight across. Place the hedge trimmers at a 45-degree angle against each stem and cut through the stem.

Each Year

Beginning the third year, continue the same process but do not cut as much. Each year, continue cutting the hedges back to achieve the desired height and bushiness.

Trimming Hedges

Trimming hedges is different than cutting them in that you will be trimming any stray limbs. As with any plant, hedges do not grow at the same rate so trimming them is essential in keeping them neat and orderly.

When to Trim

Trim hedges in the spring and again in the fall. Hedges will grow in both seasons so it is essential to get them ready for the spring and to settle them in the fall for spring growth.

How to Cut the Limb

Trim the branches on a slant as well. This allows light to reach the bottom of the plant, which in turn encourages growth from the middle to improve the bushiness of the hedge.

Formal Hedges

Use a straight line stretched across the top of the hedges to trim a formal hedge with very straight lines. Formal hedges will require regular trimming to keep them straight.

Informal Hedges and Other Considerations

It is not necessary to trim informal hedges with as straight a form as formal hedges. However, you do need to trim any stray limbs and dead branches. Removing the dead branches will promote new growth to grow from the bottom of the dead branches. Dead branch removal only needs to be done after the hedge has flowered.

After all the hard work of keeping the hedges trimmed, it is important to keep weeds from growing around the hedges and to mulch and fertilise. Keep mulch around the roots of the hedges to prevent moisture loss. Fertilise with an organic or all-purpose fertiliser according to package directions.

Hedges will tend to suck the moisture from surrounding plants so it is important to keep other plants away from the hedge area.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Cathy Conrad has more than five years of newsprint experience as an assistant editor and is a professional writer. She has worked as a virtual assistant and email support specialist, and has more than 20 years of experience working in the medical field. Conrad is currently licensed as a Texas insurance representative and has many years in home improvement and gardening.