Ask a Question forum→How to trim bushes?

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Omaha, Nebraska
jnstevens
Jun 5, 2018 6:14 AM CST
Need to trim bushes as they are going over the sidewalk too much. Not even sure what kind of bushes these are? Is a hedge trimmer the best way to trim? Please advise. Thank you!
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Jun 5, 2018 7:48 AM CST
This looks like an odd place for a hedge to me, and I would not want to devote future weekends to repeatedly trimming it. I would take them out and use the space for plants of a more appropriate size that won't need any further maintenance except to be admired.

But to answer your question, a hedge trimmer will leave the outside surfaces flat. If you don't like that idea, you could remove entire branches, for a more natural look. Either way, don't stay in one spot too long, and keep checking from different angles so the shrubs don't end up lop-sided (...but it would be a temporary appearance, until the next trimming.)

I can't see the foliage clearly enough to speculate about the ID.
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BigBill
Jun 5, 2018 9:29 AM CST
I have no idea from your images just what kind of bushes these are but I would suspect that since they are so lush and full that you could use hedge trimmers on them.
They will give you a very sculptured look when you are done but considering where they are located, that is just what is called for in this case.
Trimmers would allow to keep after them easier in the future.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2018 9:37 AM CST
I think they are boxwood. You can just trim them back with hand shears to where you want them and this is probably a good time to do it.
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Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 5, 2018 1:58 PM CST
That's what I was thinking too, some kind of boxwood. I can't tell you how much we all hate the boxwoods at my mom's house. Well, yes I can. They have the cutest, tiny leaves, but never stop growing. I try to trim them more often but sometimes, we just chainsaw them to the ground to take a break for a while and they always get huge again in a 2-3 years.

Such a prominent spot would be a good one for topiaries, if you're inclined to want to micro-manage them. Spirals, meatballs, a sine wave, an alligator...
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Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 5, 2018 2:06 PM CST
I don't care for 'balled up' shrubs so what I do is take a hedge trimmer to get them approximately how large I want them (ball them up), and THEN I use my hand pruner to reach inside the shrub to take out branches at the trunk. It's much more time consuming but I think it results is a more natural look. I agree with the thought that if you need to continually prune any particular plant, it may well be in the wrong spot. My latest approach is to just live and let live - let my plants determine their own growth habit. I'll see how that pans out. I have one shrub (perhaps a tartan honeysuckle, not sure) that is now about 12' tall. Instead of calling it the pink bush, I may start to call it the pink tree.
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purpleinopp
Jun 5, 2018 2:59 PM CST
Yes, I try to plant with the mature size of an entity in mind, and give plants enough room to become mature. I'm trying to landscape, not create future trimming work. I just want to pick & sniff flowers & watch the critters when I'm older, not trim shrubs that have overgrown their places, or mow "lawn."
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Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 5, 2018 3:17 PM CST
I love a freshly mown lawn. If I can't get to any of the flower beds, that spruces things up immensely. But, I digress. Sorry, back to the shrubs question...
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sooby
Jun 5, 2018 3:18 PM CST
On the other hand box is one of those plants that you can keep formally trimmed to fit a space if one has the inclination to, as in these pics:

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sallyg
Jun 6, 2018 5:03 AM CST
I vote yes with shear them back with a hedge trimmer, go back farther than the sidewalk because they will grow back, and like Bonehead said, you can go after with hand clippers and cut out any thick exposed stems and soften it up. Or not, leave it sheared. Depends on the look you like and if you want quick and done or get into it.
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shanto52
Oct 8, 2018 10:03 AM CST
Begin by using hand shears to clear out dead wood and thin the top of the shrub. You should remove about one- fourth of old growth branches every year by cutting them off at the ground. Next, it is important to trim hedges so that the bottom of the hedge is wider than the top.
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Calif_Sue
Oct 8, 2018 10:57 AM CST

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