Have your hedges seen better days? Do they look unkempt and scraggly? While thickly planted shrubs can act as boundary lines for your home, show your children and pets where they can and can’t go, and even be shelter for beautiful birds, they must be properly maintained. This means “regular watering, feeding, and pruning” to keep them looking their best. Watering and giving your hedges a good fertilizer is easy enough, but pruning is where most homeowners get stuck.

Hand-Prune Hedges Before You Shear
In order to give your hedges some sunlight on the inside, make sure to hand-prune them before you trim them back. “So at each shearing, be sure to use bypass hand pruners to create some spaces in the hedge for light and air. Every few feet, reach inside and clip a branch or two at a 45-degree angle, just above a nub or leaflet that’s growing in a direction you want to encourage.”

Prune in the Winter to Reduce Wasted Energy
You’ll want to prune your hedges in the wintertime so that you don’t cut off buds and new growth – especially if you want to drastically cut-back growth. “‘You don’t want them to break bud before you prune because you want the plant’s energy to go toward producing new growth where you want it,’ says Roger. ‘If you take off a plant’s buds, you’re cutting off spent energy, and it will take longer for the hedge to fill out.’”

Keep Hedges Wider at Their Base
Hedges naturally grow out and up, but you want to keep your hedge narrower at the top. This ensures that lower branches continue to get sunlight, and don’t get blocked out by the outer, upward reaching branches. “A sheared hedge should always be wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, whether that top is flat, pointed, or rounded. When shearing, start at the bottom and work up toward the top.”

Plant Hedges With Enough Room to Grow
A hedge normally needs 3 feet in diameter to grow. If you plant hedges too close together, they won’t have enough room. Planting hedges with no room for growth will be a constant battle when it comes to pruning. “‘The best course is to figure out how high and wide you want your hedge to be before you plant. ‘Research the habit of any plant you want to hedge,’ says Roger, ‘then choose a variety that won’t overgrow your space.’”

Keeping hedges trimmed will ensure that they are healthy and visually appealing. For more information on how to maintain your hedges, get in touch with Lewis Tree Care today.