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How to Make Hedge Trimming Easier

Trimming your hedges regularly will keep them looking full and attractive.


  • : Do not use electric trimmers in wet conditions. Blades and electricity can both be very dangerous.
  • Step 1: Use the proper tools Use a small hand trimmer if you are doing only minor manicuring. For larger jobs, use an electric or gas trimmer.
  • Step 2: Lay down a drop cloth Spread a drop cloth around the base of the hedge to catch falling debris.
  • Step 3: Visualize shape Stand at a distance from the hedge and visualize the shape you want to construct.
  • TIP: If you can't reach or see the top your hedge, use a step stool rather than stretching and straining.
  • Step 4: Mark guide lines For flat tops, put bamboo stakes at either end of the hedge and attach string between them. Use the string as a guide for level trimming.
  • TIP: Round designs are easier to maintain than square ones. New growth is less noticeable on round tops and snow falls off round tops, too.
  • Step 5: Remove branches Remove branches in your cutting path that are too large for your trimmer to handle. Use lopping shears for branches more than ¼-inch in diameter.
  • Step 6: Trim Run your trimmer along the lines you visualized, moving your body to avoid overreaching at any point.
  • TIP: Don't cut too deeply or your plants will look dead. Leave a thick layer of greenery beneath your cuts.
  • Step 7: Visualize again Step back periodically to make sure you're cutting along the edges of your visualized shape. Make a final sweep to smooth out any rough spots.
  • Step 8: Clean up Brush the cut pieces off the shrubbery. Fold up the edges of your drop cloth for easy disposal or composting, and put away your equipment.
  • FACT: The Timberline Lodge, used as the Overlook Hotel in the film The Shining, does not actually have a hedge maze on its grounds.

You Will Need

  • A hand trimmer
  • An electric or gas trimmer
  • A drop cloth
  • Bamboo stakes
  • String
  • Lopping shears
  • A step stool (optional)

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