How to Trim Hedges

What You'll Need
Shears or electric hedge trimmer
Tape measure
4 Stakes (depending on the size of the hedges)
Pruning shears

Hedges comprise of shrubs planted close together in rows to resemble a sort of wall. These can be high or low depending on the types of shrubs used. Hedges are used for a number of purposes: to accentuate your lawn, for privacy purposes or to demarcate a certain area. Trim your garden hedges frequently to prevent them from overgrowing. Follow these steps to trim your hedges and maintain a beautiful landscape.  

Step 1 - Put Stakes into the Ground

To make sure you trim your hedge evenly and neatly, first set an outline. Use the mallet to pound your stakes into the ground, one at each corner of the hedge.  

Step 2 - Tie a String at the Lower Ends

Take the string and tie it to one of the stakes, keeping it a few inches off the ground. Measure how high off the ground you have tied it and walk the string to the other end of the hedge, tying it to the other stake at the same height as the first. Prune off any branches that come in its way and make the string taut. 

Step 3 - Tie a String at the Upper Ends

Take the string and keep it a few inches below the top of the hedge. Measure its height with the tape measure and walk it to the other end. Tie it to the other stake at the same height, ensuring this string is taut, too. Prune off any branches that come in the way of the string before making it taut. 

Step 4 - Repeat for Other Side

Tie 2 strings taut on the stakes other side of the hedge, 1 a few inches off the ground and the other a few inches below the top of the hedge.

There should be 4 strings in all that will serve as an outline. Trim off any foliage outside their boundaries. How deep your strings should penetrate the hedge will depend on much you want to trim.

Step 4 - Begin Trimming

Using the upper 2 strings as a guide, begin trimming the top of the hedge by keeping the shears as leveled as possible. You may use electric shears to help you trim quicker.

Once the top is trimmed, move to the sides, trimming each in turn. Cut any foliage growing beyond the strings. If you feel you have left a spot, go back and trim it again, as a hedge that has been unevenly trimmed looks unsightly. Remember to shear off excess vegetation between the stakes at the head of your garden or privacy hedge. Keep your hedge rounded at the top to allow sunlight to be evenly distributed.  

Step 5 - Fertilize

You may want to fertilize your hedge with compost after you trim it. This will help the shrubs grow faster and lead to another occasion for trimming.