The best time to trim a hedge actually depends on the type of hedging plant you have. How it should be trimmed will depend on it too, plus the style of your garden.
Trimming hedges are ideal during the spring to summer. This is when you see the most growth and when they need to be maintained. Depending on the species of plant, hedges should be pruned once a month in Spring and summer and every 3 months in the cooler seasons.
Maintenance trimming is always necessary for both informal and formal hedges. Informal hedges are trimmed once a year while formal hedges are trimmed twice a year.
The frequency of trimming your hedges depends on Australia’s seasons.
Spring & summer
In spring and summer, you may need to get a hedge trimmed once per month at least. It will depend on the type of hedge you have as some grow faster than others. If you want a really nice finish, you might want to consider every 2 – 3 weeks.
Autumn & winter
Autumn and winter are a different story, you will likely only need to trim your hedges every 8 weeks. This is because growth slows considerably during winter. If you are in some northern states, you might be able to skip winter altogether.
Hedge trimming cost
Why is it important to trim hedges?
Trimming your hedge is not just for the sole reason of making it look attractive. It helps prevent excessive overgrowth which can be harmful to the hedge.
If a hedge remains untrimmed, the amount of light and moisture it receives will be greatly reduced. With less light and moisture, you cannot expect much of the growth of your hedge.
Along with pruning, trimming the shrubs allows for more air, sunshine, and moisture – all of which are essential in keeping a hedge healthy and strong.
It is important to take note though that before trimming your hedge, make sure to consider any potential nesting birds.
The nesting season runs from March to August, so if you notice any nesting activity in your hedge, you might want to consider postponing trimming it as it is actually against the law to do so.
Pruning vs trimming hedges
Most people interchange these terms, but there is a difference between pruning and trimming hedges. The difference is found in their purpose and how they are done.
To prune a hedge is to remove dead, infected, or weak branches from it. It focuses on the health and safety of the hedge. Trimming, on the other hand, is mostly done for maintenance and aesthetic purposes.
This does not mean though that pruning is much more important than trimming. Trimming includes maintaining the size and the foliage of the shrubs. It also tidies up the hedge by cutting unnecessary leaf growths.
Both pruning and trimming keep your hedge healthy and nicely landscaped. They allow nutrients to be concentrated on the healthier parts of the plant and encourage the growth of new buds or tips.
How far back can you trim hedges?
When trimming hedges, you should never cut back more than ⅓ (one-third) of the total volume of the hedge at one time. Trimming more than a third of the hedge will most likely cause serious damage to its overall well-being.
Removing a third or less of the hedge is enough to promote new and healthy growth on the top half of the plant. It encourages the growth of new leaves and maintains the shape of the hedge.
Before you start
Before trimming your hedge, make sure to spend time understanding the plant by observing its growth. With this, you will be able to determine which specific areas you are supposed to cut without causing harm to its underlying structure.
Most hedges have an inner skeleton which you should avoid. Unless you are hard pruning a plant, leave the hedge’s skeleton alone because it supports the smaller branches and leaves.
Will hedges grow back if you cut them down?
As long as you are careful with how you cut or trim the hedge, it will grow back. However, if you have significantly damaged its structure during the trimming, it could be very difficult to help the hedge recover.
As long as the hedge’s skeleton has not been seriously harmed, it should respond well to occasional pruning and trimming and its overall recovery process.
Cutting too far can cause the hedge to lose its ability to grow new leaves. Without new leaves, there will be fewer solar cells that will convert sunlight to energy (through photosynthesis) – energy that is immensely needed by the plant.
If the hedge is no longer able to receive energy from the sun because it has been too cut back, it will starve and eventually become malnourished. Plant malnutrition will destabilize its hormonal balance which could lead to the death of the plant.
The chances of the plant getting infections and preventing its growth are increased when it is malnourished, recovering from a hard pruning, and continually receiving pruning or trimming during the wetter months.
The shrubs in the hedge are often exposed to risks from fungi and other harmful species, but a healthy plant is able to withstand threats like these.
How to stop hedges from growing back?
Hedges have many uses and purposes in the home landscape. They provide privacy, safety, and protection from winter drafts. They also prevent soil erosion surrounding home foundations and in the landscape.
Unfortunately, there is no way to control the growth of the shrubs unless they are regularly and properly pruned. With the right techniques, a hedge can grow only to a specified height.
Before anything else, make sure to wear the proper equipment – gloves to protect your hand and goggles for your eyes. You may also wear a protective hat and a pair of steel boots if necessary.
Only work with the sharpest, most completely functional tools when pruning to prevent damage to other branches.
Here are steps on how to stop hedges from growing:
- Prune your hedge when planting to a height of 6 inches from the ground. This allows for height control even from the beginning and for a bushier hedge.
- Once the hedge reaches the height you want it, prune it again. Cut the branch nodes at a 45-degree angle.
- As the hedge grows 6 to 8 inches above your ideal height, prune the shrubs once again. Prune them to 2 inches from the last pruning you did.
- Prune the hedge in a way that it is wider at the bottom than at the top. This makes the hedge dense, and not tall.
- Trim twice a year. Once in the spring and once in midsummer.
- Start shaping the hedge in its third year to prevent excessive overgrowth.