Trimming your garden to look perfect is difficult, especially when done manually. This is where a hedge trimmer comes in. What is a hedge trimmer? It is a gardening machine used to cut bushes and shrubs. It can make the job of beautifying your garden a lot easier. But just like any machine, using a hedge cutters is not such a simple task. Here is a detailed guide about how to use a hedge trimer for well maintained lawn.
How to Use a Hedge Trimmer?
There are many different hedges, and trimming one type is not the same as trimming another. However, there are still some basic steps that people can follow for the best way to trim hedges and a get a nice-looking shape.
Step-1 : Plan the Hedge Design
Before cutting the hedges, it is important to know what one wants to achieve. Hedges can act like structures, privacy screens, and interesting landscapes. Before trimming, it is best to think through what you want it to look and function like.
Step-2 : Basic Preparation
Hedge trimmers function using blades, so it is best to lubricate them before use. Wearing a proper helmet, ear covers, boots, and gloves are important to reduce injury. Laying a large cloth on the ground to catch the trimmings will also help during clean-up. Also, make sure that the power cord is connected properly. The extension cable of the cord should also have ample length to cover the entire trimming area.
Step-3 : Trim Your Way Upwards
When trimming hedges, it is recommended to start from the bottom. The aim is to trim the bottom first before slowly moving upwards. While trimming, it is important to keep cautious about the depth of the trim. Cutting too far will make the hedges look uneven. When trimming, don’t use too much force as it might ruin the hedges.
Step-4 : Trimming the Sides
Since hedges are narrow at the top and the bottom, the sides must be cut at an angle. This requires a little bit more polish. Cutting the sides at an angle will allow sunlight into the hedge, ensuring it doesn’t wither. Sides cut at an angle also have more aesthetic appeal.
Step-5 : Trim the Tops Flat
Flat-tops in hedges give a more professional look. To cut the top properly, move the hedge trimmer left and right while holding it level. If the person’s hands trimming are not steady enough, one can tie a thread along the hedges to mark where to cut. Trim only a few centimeters at a time. Since we move from the bottom towards the top, the tops will always be cut last.
The amount needed to be pruned on the hedge and personal preference. Most hedges do not need to be cut too early in the year. Some hedges can be cut deeply, but this is not always the remedy. Knowing the hedge in your garden will help you trim them properly.
When to Trim Bushes with Hedge Trimmer?
All plant species are different from each other. In addition, each plant is distinct and has its unique life cycle. Therefore, the right time to prune the hedges will differ from one type of hedge to another.
- Overgrown hedges are usually cut in late winter/early spring. Trimming to maintain cool hedge trimming shapes is best done during the summer months.
- It is not recommended to trim hedges in the autumn months in temperate zones. There is a boom in fungi spores during the autumn months, which can infect the hedges, leading them to wither.
- The winter months (dormant period) are not recommended to prune hedges. Experts also generally recommend against pruning shrubs in early spring. Trimming in early spring might cut off new flower buds/berries.
Anyone considering pruning their hedges should learn about their specific bushes. This will help them to trim and maintain their hedges properly. The pruning of hedges is affected by the type of hedge, climate, amount of sunlight the hedge gets, etc.
Hedge Trimming Safety Tips
The hedge trimming tools are high-powered with sharp blades. Thus, it is important to follow safety instructions properly. If proper safety measures are not utilized, bush trimmers become a safety hazard.
Remove the Objects in the Surroundings
Before trimming, it is best to clean the area of any decor or debris. Things like branches, chairs, toys, etc., kept in the garden should be removed. Removing these objects will ensure that the person trimming doesn’t trip/fall because of them. It will also give him a clear view of the surroundings. For safety, dead and loose branches should also be removed.
Proper Safety Gear
Since hedge trimmers are dangerous machinery, it is important to wear safety gear when operating them. A helmet, long boots, safety gloves, and safety glasses are recommended. Also, avoid loose clothes since they can get caught in the blade of the hedge trimmer.
Usually, it is best to ask other people not to come near the area when trimming. When using a hedge trimmer, legs should be comfortably spaced, and a solid base should be maintained. Hands, legs, and feet should be kept away from the blade when trimming. Ladders and stools should be avoided when using a hedge trimmer.
Since not all hedge trimmers are the same, always read its safety manual carefully before using a hedge trimmer. Understand and follow the safety instructions as mentioned in the manual. When trimming, one should never be in a hurry and work cautiously and steadily.
Types of Bushes you can Trim with a Hedge Trimmer
While not every bush, hedge trimmers can trim a large majority of hedges, including:
- Common Laurel
- Evergreen Oak
- Green Bush
- Holly Bushes
These are some of the bushes that can be trimmed with a hedge trimmer. Not just bushes, hedge trimmers can also cut long grass, weeds, and some types of wines. However, more stringent safety precautions need to be taken if using it to cut another type of plant.
Types of Hedge Trimmers
Hedge trimmers can be separated based on two factors. The fuel they use and the number of sides.
Based on Fuel
- Battery Powered Hedge Trimmer: Powered by batteries, these quiet and convenient trimmers are suitable for domestic hedge maintenance. Since they don’t have any cables, a person can freely roam in large gardens without fear of cable management or noise. The drawback of such trimmers is that they are not powerful and are prone to running out of power.
- Corded Hedge Trimmer: Corded hedge trimmers need to be connected to power to function. As such, these trimmers are best suited for small gardens. However, since they are inexpensive and lightweight, such trimmers are quite popular among inexperienced users. A feature set like no charging, no exhaust fumes, and no noise makes them very desirable.
- Petrol Hedge Trimmer: These hedge trimmers run on petrol, as the name suggests. They are most suitable for professional use and large gardens. They have the most cutting power of any hedge trimmer and can function away from a power source. That said, they make a lot of noise and also release exhaust fumes. They also require much more maintenance and are expensive to use.
Based on Sides
- Single-Sided Hedge Trimmer: These hedge trimmers are professional machines. The machines are fitted with a longer blade than a double-sided trimmer. This makes it possible for them to trim long straight stretches of hedges. Thus, they are preferred for commercial work.
- Double-Sided Hedge Trimmer: These trimmers are more common for personal use. They have a shorter blade which allows increased movement. This allows for quick changes in the direction of the cut. A double-sided trimmer is more versatile and easier to use when shaping shrubs and bushes.
There is no one trimmer for everyone. Therefore, if someone is in the market looking for a hedge trimmer, it is best to look for the most suitable one for their garden.
Hedge trimmers in the right hands are very useful machines. They make the job of pruning and beautifying the garden a lot easier. However, if not used properly, they are also a safety hazard. Therefore, before using a hedge trimmer, it is vital to go through its safety manual and wear proper safety gear.