How to Prune Hedges

The creation of a hedge requires close spacing of the shrubs at the time of planting and a special type of pruning. The landscaper must shear the plant so that it becomes as dense as possible. This is usually done with hedge shears. The hedge shears easily cut through the soft new growth of spring, the season when most hedges are pruned. For especially large hedges, electric or gasoline powered shears are available. However, practice and skill are required for the satisfactory use of power shears. Damage can occur quickly if the landscaper does not keep the shears under control.

A properly pruned hedge is level on top and tapered on the sides (Figure 11—17). It is important that sunlight be able to reach the lower portion of the hedge if it is to stay full. Otherwise it becomes leggy and top-heavy in appearance.