How to trim hard-to-reach hedges?

  • 5 min reading time

Hedges are more than mere green barriers; they're an integral part of a beautiful garden. Unlike fences, hedges offer year-round vibrant color and increase privacy while potentially adding property value. As with all plants, hedges require regular upkeep in terms of watering and trimming to remain neat and tidy.

tall hedge after construction

Maintaining tall and wide hedges can be challenging. From balancing on a ladder to trimming the hedges manually, maintaining them requires work and poses risks that should not be taken lightly.

To ease these challenges and make the job simpler, equipping yourself with the appropriate equipment is key! For this task, the Alloyman pole hedge trimmer provides maximum flexibility without the need for ladders or specialist tools; it can trim hedges up to 8 feet high! If you find yourself struggling to trim tall or wide hedges, here are a few strategies to get you going:

Which trees are too tall and need trim?

Landscape enthusiasts often choose fast-growing trees like arborvitae and privet to create privacy hedges in their front yards. They are fast growing and branching trees that can be enjoyed all year round. After one or two years of planting, their dense foliage will fill your space and can even be maintained as a hedge. Furthermore, depending on which cultivar you select for planting, their mature size could vary from being less than 3 feet high to reaching 70 feet in height and 25 feet in width! Growth rates differ among species and cultivars, with some growing as much as four feet annually, so annual pruning may be necessary to form an ideal living fence!

Rapidly growing tall cypress trees

When is it best to trim your hedges?

Before trimming your hedges, be sure to do it at an optimal time. Timing depends on various factors:

how old your hedges are?

Your Hedge's Age Newly planted hedges require formative pruning within their first three years to establish their shape and ensure healthy growth. Once this shape is in place, proper maintenance should be conducted regularly.

When is the optimal time of year to prune?

Winter or early spring are ideal times for formative pruning due to leaves falling off branches when plants are dormant and have yet to produce buds. If delaying until warmer weather arrives when new buds have appeared will impact recovery speed, plant expert Jess advised against taking this route because removing buds reduces energy being expended and will take longer for your hedge to fill in.

Shrub Type

Hedges can be divided into evergreen plants and deciduous plants, each needing different care. Evergreen hedges should be pruned early in the season, and hedges require only maintenance pruning once every year as their growth tends to be slower. Fast-growing deciduous hedge plants such as privet are generally easier to prune. A general guideline when pruning flowering shrubs should be to wait until all flowers have faded before starting your pruning, whether on new or old branches.

How To Trim Hedges?

Plants generally grow upward, and if left unchecked, most hedges will begin to widen at the top, where they receive the most sunlight. This results in a V-shaped shape that shades the lower branches, causing them to produce fewer and fewer leaves. When trimming a hedge, priority should be given to determining the height and width of the hedge. The hedge should be narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, whether it is flat, pointed, or rounded at the top.

Trim Tall Hedges

Gardener pruning high hedge

It's common for tall hedges, especially those with columnar shapes, to usually require climbing a ladder to get to the top, so if you find yourself frequently needing to haul out ladders or steps, a pole hedge trimmer can save you time and money. They are required for hedges over 2m tall. When trimming with these hedge trimmers:

Start by setting the angle of your hedge trimmer cutting head at 90 degrees so you can get a clean cut from its top edge.

Next, extend the telescoping pole to an appropriate height based on the height of your hedges. Aim for 10–20 cm lower than the current grooming height when grooming hedges, and adjust the cutting head as necessary if lowering further is required for grooming purposes.

Start from one end of the hedge and work your way along to trim to its other end, taking care to maintain even height distribution throughout.

As hedge trimmer blades usually range between 50 cm - 60 cm, trimming from the front first then back will cover between 1.1m to 1.2m of space - more than enough for any average hedge width.

Trim Wide Hedges

Position the hedge trimmer trimming head so that it forms a 10-degree angle with respect to the pole, and ensure it lies on top of your hedge.

Adjust the angle of your trimming head based on how far away from the hedge you are; the farther away from it, the wider its angle must be. Once adjusted, start cutting from the top down before moving on to cutting the sides as necessary.

Finally, tilt the trimming head 90 degrees and position your telescopic pole so it stands approximately 20 cm from the ground. Continue along the base of the hedge, drawing clear lines as you go.


Trimming with a hedge trimmer is more convenient than traditional methods

Pruning trees regularly, both for aesthetic purposes and functional uses like privacy screens, is key to keeping their height, shape, and overall visual appeal looking their best. A hedge trimmer plays an indispensable role in this maintenance process by providing precise yet efficient trimming to control the shape of hedges without needing ladders or additional tools—an integral tool in keeping tall hedges neat, visually appealing, and serving their intended purposes

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