How To Trim Hedges Into Shapes?

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Bushes and hedges can make your garden attractive and pleasing, especially if you take proper care of them.

So, how can you transform shapeless shrubs into pretty structures?

Simple, learn how to shape your hedges and bushes.

Shaping Hedges – What Are The Pre-requisites?

Framing the hedges depends upon their height, size and design. The pruning process is also called topiary, which is easy to learn. So, you can be an expert after some practice.

You need the following items to shape a hedge.

  • Hedge trimmer
  • Wooden stakes
  • Some pieces of bamboo, and
  • String

If you have spiral, round or any other irregular shaped hedges, you need hand shears and wire mesh.

Safety should be your priority. So, wear protective gear before starting the shaping or trimming session. If you are using a corded trimmer, plug it into an RCD adaptor, which can cut the power supply if there is a surge.


How To Cut Straight Hedges?

Straight hedges are common in the UK. These are also called formal hedges because they are generally used to define the borders of private or government properties.

Creating straight fences is simple because you have to cut them from the top, back and sides.

If the hedges are very small, then you can cut them using some experience and a hedge trimmer. Stop after regular intervals to check by stepping back from the greens.

Also, would you please make sure they are straight?

Use wooden stakes for large hedges. Hammer one of them at starting and endpoint of the barriers. Tie twine or string to maintain an even line.

Then, pull the string at any height as per your requirements. Use it as a trimming line while you move the hedge trimmer. Maintain an even cut and check the progress after repeated intervals.


How To Cut Square Hedges?

Forming square hedges is similar to trimming them in a straight line. Use wooden stakes or garden canes and a string to cut the walls flat on top.

Move the hedge trimmer straight and follow sweeping movements.

You can create flat sides using the canes. Hammer them carefully so that they can stand straight. Move your trimmer from the base to the top. Go slowly to ensure flat cutting results.


How To Make Slopes?

You can cut the hedges into slopes to ensure all of them get the required amount of sunlight. The leaves and branches can turn brown and die if they don’t receive solar energy. So, make sure the base is always the widest.

Use some wooden stakes and a string to form a cutting line. Trim the hedges from top to their bottom to create a slope like structure. Increase the number of greens you trim while moving up.

A hedge trimmer might not provide satisfactory cutting results if the hedges are old. The device can also fail if there are lots of thick branches. So, use a manual hedge cutter or chain saw to get rid of viscous materials.

How To Cut Round Hedges?

If you want to cut the edges into rounds, start from around 3 inches from their top. In this process, you have to use your experience, eyes and instincts. Use a wire mesh if you are a beginner. Keep the trimmer at an angle and move around the hedges to create a circle. Repeat if you cannot get the desired shape.

We suggest that you practice creating round hedges on small bushes and shrubs. Once you feel confident, move on to the bigger ones.

How To Cut Spiral Hedges?

Spiral hedges are the most popular form of topiary nowadays. They might appear complex, but you can easily create such a design by following some easy steps. But yes, only practice can make you a master in this art.

The first step is to make sure your hedges are in the right shape: a cone. So, trim them into cones wherein their base should be the widest. Locate the middle point on the top of your hedges and start cutting towards the bottom in a cone shape. You cannot achieve this feast on thin borders. So, let the greens grow if they are not looking dense.

Wind a string around a hedge. The line decides where you can create the spirals. Divide the plant into two to three sections as per its length. Increase the width when you move towards the base. Use pruners to create grooves between the strings. The tracks could be worth 3 to 4 inches. Review the work after regular intervals.

Remove the string and cut down all the branches and twigs to define the spirals. You can add a ball at the top. But, make sure there are no branches underneath it.


How to Cut and Maintain Irregularly Shaped Hedges?

maintain irregularly shaped hedges

Have you seen hedges shaped like an elephant or camel? Well, they look pretty impressive. But, cutting hedges into such irregular shapes is not an easy task.

The easiest and efficient way to create a green rabbit or any other shape in your garden is to get a wire mesh. Fit the mesh on your hedges and cut them accordingly. Regular trimming will train the fences to grow in the same shape.


Cutting Different Types of Hedges

Hedges like hawthorn, conifers, box and privet are tall. Hence, you can easily create spirals on these plants. Similarly, hornbeam and beech form dense hedges.

So, they are great when you want to enjoy square, round or straight lines.

Formal hedges are best suited for box plant because it has small leaves, yet dense growth that’s perfect for easy shaping and maintenance.

But, hydrangeas or rhododendrons are tough to shape because of their large leaves. Plus, these plants don’t want to follow any rules.


Keep in mind that hedge trimming is best in the dormant season. It’s helpful for better fruits and growth, which means you can only do it once the flowering season is gone.

Hence, springs are the best for trimming and pruning your hedges because they will get sufficient time to grow back.

About M H Sharaj

Sharaj is a passionate garden enthusiast and expert gardening tool reviewer with more than 5 years of hands-on experience. His love for gardening blossomed in his childhood, nurtured by weekends spent in his family's vibrant garden. Sharaj holds a degree in Management and enjoys the unique challenges and rewards of roof gardening. He combines his horticultural knowledge with a keen eye for innovative tools and equipment, providing readers with insightful, unbiased reviews. When he’s not testing the latest gardening gadgets, Sharaj is cultivating his own lush rooftop garden oasis, filled with a variety of plants and flowers. His mission is to inspire others to create beautiful, sustainable gardens using the best tools available.