Cutting or trimming your hedge is a task that must be performed regularly to keep it neat. Hedges that are tall and wide are difficult to trim without the use of suitable equipment to reach every part. Leaning a ladder against the hedge is not practical as it pushes the hedge out of shape while you are cutting it, but several types of access equipment are available for the purpose.
A freestanding ladder that has a sturdy platform at or near the top is a platform ladder. These ladders are usually two-piece ladders with the platform firmly fixed to both legs. Place a platform ladder alongside the hedge to enable access for cutting without damaging the hedge. "Mobile work platform" ladders are also available with a wider platform on which two workers can stand comfortably after climbing the stairs to reach it. These are fitted with wheels to make them easy to move and can be placed alongside a hedge.
A ladder jack is a triangular-shaped piece of equipment that attaches to the rungs of a ladder using brackets to join two ladders with scaffolding to create a platform. These are ideal for hedge cutting as they are commonly used in situations where you need a portable platform but can only be used for light loads on ladders that conform to certain specifications. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the side rails and ladder rungs must support the ladder jack together, or alternatively the jack must extend across a length of at least 10 inches on each rang.
The most secure method of reaching the hedge is with scaffolding, but as it is less portable, it is practical for hedges that only extend for a short distance. If you plan to do extensive cutting on one part of the hedge or perhaps trim it into a specific shape, a scaffold will provide sturdy, suitable access. If portable scaffolding is required, a rolling scaffold tower will do the job.
A three-piece ladder is a regular ladder with two legs in an inverted V shape which has a third leg that extends to a greater height. The two traditional legs provide the support for the weight to avoid leaning the ladder against the hedge, and the extension enables you to reach a higher level. You can climb the extension from either side, and you can use it with a second ladder to create trestles for a scaffolding platform.
Providing access to the top of the hedge, a tall rolling warehouse ladder also offers a secure platform and portability. Wheeling the ladder may be difficult if the area beside the hedge has a soft surface such as grass. These ladders come with built-in safety features, such as lockable wheels, and you can choose a wider top step to use as a platform.