The Q&A Archives: Hedge Trimming

Question: I am a new home owner and have about 4-6 bushes/hedges in my front yard (I do not know what type they are). I have no idea how to trim bushes/hedges. Is there a basic guideline that I should follow?

Answer: There are some basic hedge trimming rules: prune after flowering, and don't remove more than 1/3 of the healthy plant tissue in any one year. The only way to renovate a hedge is to crawl in and work your way out. If you just shear the tips of the plants, you'll get short, dense growth. If you cut branches back to the main trunk, you'll encourage new growth at the trunk. Try to trim so the top of the hedge is more narrow than the bottom, to allow light to penetrate all the way down to the bottom of the hedge. Think of an "A" as the desired shape when you've finished pruning. Cut back the sparse branches so they'll sprout new twigs and leaves, and remove those branches that are dead or a different color than all the rest. Just go slowly and step back periodically until you've gotten the desired shape.

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