How to use hedge trimmers? - Knowledgebase Question

Fresno, CA, CA
Avatar for sighsue
Question by sighsue
April 26, 2005
We recently fired our gardeners. How do I use our hedge trimmer to keep all our various shrubs looking good? It's about a 20 inch. electric trimmer.

Answer from NGA
April 26, 2005
When using a hedge trimmer, always remember to be safe. Experts recommend wearing eye protection, ear protection and gloves. Make sure you're on firm footing (or on a steady ladder), and don't overextend your reach. If you're using an electric trimmer, always be sure the cord trails away from the blades.

Select a hedge trimmer appropriate for the work; single blades for small jobs, double-sided blades for larger work. Before operating the equipment, read, understand and follow the manufacturer's operating manual and safety decals on the equipment. Do not use electrical tools in the rain, or on wet grass or shrubs.
Maintain the blades sharp and ensure the cutter bar bolts are torqued correctly (not too loose and not too tight). Keep fingers and hands away from the blades.
Check hedges for any foreign objects (e.g., metal posts, wires) before trimming.
Keep the power cord of the electric hedge trimmer behind you to avoid snipping it or tripping. Leave enough slack for normal work motions. Use both hands to hold and guide the tool. Avoid overreaching during trimming operations.
Avoid standing on unstable supports (e.g., chairs or boards on saw horses) or on ladders when using hedge trimmers. Use long-reach or telescoping trimmers for tall hedges and shrubs. Do not force tools to cut something they are not designed to cut.
Turn off the power and wait for the blades to stop before cleaning out twigs or grass. To prevent injuries, use a brush or other device to remove material from the knives.

Now that you know how to be safe when using your electric hedge trimmer, you can begin trimming your hedges. Trim flowering shrubs and hedges after they have finished flowering and remove only a few inches of growth in any one pruning session.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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