Trimming Hedges

buxus boxwood maintenance pruning shearing

How to Trim Hedges for Optimum Health

Hedge maintenance is a simple process that can be easily integrated into a landscape routine. We receive a lot of questions about how to trim hedges. Pruning hedges contributes to its overall health and quality and keeps it at the desired size.

  • InstantHedge delivers uniformly pruned, finished hedges, so a simple annual maintenance trim is all that is required. In the first year of installation, pruning should be kept to a minimum to allow the hedge to acclimate to space. Vigorous shoots that outgrow their companions can be clipped, but that is it.

    How to Trim Hedges: Using high technology to prune hedges for optimum health.
  • In the second year of growth and beyond, annual hedge trimming should begin. Frequency and intensity will depend on the hedge type. Slow-growing hedges (like Emerald Green Arborvitae) may only need a trim once every 2-3 years, while fast-growing hedges (like Green Giant Arborvitae or laurels) may need 2 trims per year, especially if they are intended to be a compact, formal hedge. Pruning requirements for some of our most popular hedges can be found in the following tables:

    how to trim hedges


    Emerald Green Arborvitae, Yew Hedge, Holly, Arrowwood Viburnum, Fagus Sylvatica Atropurpurea.

    Pruning hedges


    Virescens Western Red Cedar, American Arborvitae, Portuguese Laurel, Schip Laurel, Fagus Sylvatica, Green Mountain Boxwood, Royal Star Magnolia, Bald Cypress, Teton Firethorn, Carpinus Betulus.

    pruning hedges. How to Trim hedges for Optimum Health.


    Green Giant Arborvitae, Prunus Laurocerasus, Flame Amur Maple

  • Best way to cut hedges

    Late spring, early fall, or winter (when the hedges are fully dormant) are the best times for pruning hedges. Don’t prune hedges during very hot, dry weather, and prune well before your first frost date. Best time to trim hedges woule be on a cludu day to avoid excessive leaf burn.

  • Hedge trimming

    When pruning conifer hedges (Thujas, Taxus, etc), do not wait too long between trims. If you allow them to become overgrown, then try to remedy it by pruning hard, they will most likely not backbud and “fill in”. They have less latent buds than other types of shrubs, so you will just end up with unattractive, partially bare hedges. Trimming hedges more often and less severely will give the best results.

  • trimming hedges. How to Prune (Trim) Hedges for optimum health.

    To encourage height increase, simply prune the sides and allow the top of the hedge to grow freely.

  • Pro Tip: How to Trim Hedges

    It may seem strange, but to keep your hedge healthy, you will want to prune it slightly smaller at the top. This will help allow more sunlight to the bottom of your hedge, keeping it healthy and vigorous.

  • Hand-held hedge pruners are the best way to trim hedges for control, and an electric hedge trimmer also works well. Make sure whichever tool you use is as sharp as possible to avoid unnecessary damage and stress to the hedge.

    how to trim hedges
  • Take your time. Trim for a minute, then step back and make sure you are following the line of the hedge. You can always trim more, but you can’t undo a careless cut.

  • Now you know everything there is to know about trimming hedges – have fun! Your hedging plants can be pruned into arches, doorways, windows, and other unique shapes. You’ll want to refer to our other care guides to learn the best way to water hedges and how to fertilize hedges to keep your hedge in great shape for years to come. Although different types of hedges have different specific needs, follow these principles of hedge care for best results.

By brent | January 15th, 2019 | Care Guides

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