When do I cut my hedge?
By Adele Dyer
Find out when to cut your hedges to keep them healthy and looking sharp.
Hedges can be made from a wide variety of trees and shrubs. Conifers make great hedges, but so do broad-leaved, flowering plants. Just as you would choose when to prune your trees and shrubs, so too there is a best time to cut a hedge.
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Yew should be trimmed once a year in August or September. Prune it back hard in April if it's getting too large.
You can renovate a large hedge by cutting right back to the main trunk. Cut back the top in the first year, then one side of the hedge in the next year before finally cutting the other side in the third year. This means the hedge always has some green leaves to fuel the plant as it regrows. Remember to give the hedge a granular, slow release feed to help it put on good growth.
Beech and hornbeam hedges can be pruned in August. They grow rapidly in the early part of the year, but need to grow a little after cutting to make sure there are no bare patches through the winter. If the hedges have grown too large, cut back hard in mid-winter, avoiding very cold spells.
Hawthorn flowers in May, so trim after flowering in June. If you want a dense, formal hedge trim again in autumn, but you'll probably have far fewer flowers. Alternatively, cut every few years and leave the berries for the birds if you like an informal hedge. To reduce a large hedge, hard prune in winter.