How to trim hedges and bushes: tips and tricks

Good weather spells are here: barbecues, summer parties and sunbathing – which means that you’ll need your garden to be guest-ready for when the sun comes out.

Along with pruning flowers and freshening up patio furniture, there’s also the matter of manicuring any overgrown hedges and bushes. Whether you’re cutting back branches or trimming foliage, you’ll want to get it right the first time.

To learn how to cut a hedge like a pro, read our top tips, below.

Choosing the right tools

Pruning bushes with garden shears

While it might seem like a daunting task, there are, in fact, only two tools you need to trim foliage: hand shears and a hedge trimmer.

If you’re snipping away at small, untidy shrubs or have a few thick branches you can’t stand the sight of, then you’ll need shears. If, on the other hand, you’re cutting long and tall hedges, you could benefit from a wide-sweeping hedge trimmer for an even cut.

Not sure what to look for in a quality hedge trimmer? Keep an eye out for ergonomic features, such as extendable arms and adjustable cutting heads. The Gtech HT3.0 Hedge Trimmer, for instance, has a long-reach telescopic arm (cutting up to 10ft tall) and comes with a cutting head that rotates at 135° - ideal for reaching awkward angles. Best of all, as it is a cordless hedge trimmer, you won’t run the risk of tripping over leads or feeding cords through windows.

TOP TIP: Whether you’re using shears, hedge trimmers or both, you should keep your tools sharp and well-lubricated. Leave them untended and you could end up with a dull blade and frayed finish.

How to use a hedge trimmer

Cutting garden hedge with Gtech HT20 hedge trimmer

While precise hedge cutting might look challenging, it only takes a little know-how to finesse your technique.

If you’re new to trimming, the first thing you should learn is how to hold your tool correctly. For hedge trimmers, the golden rule is to always keep the blade parallel to the hedge. This ensures a clean, evenly-shaped cut. You can also make the job easier on your arms by using wide, sweeping actions.

You’ll also want to cut the bottom wider than the top. Don’t worry, this won’t make your hedge look uneven. In fact, if you cut your hedge completely even, your top branches will eventually hang over the lower branches, leaving them in the shade (and we all know what happens when plants don’t get enough sunlight).

Struggling to cut through tough branches at the top? Just add on a specialist branch attachment. Our HT3.0 hedge trimmer, for instance, comes with a branch cutter than can chop through branches up to 60mm thick.

TOP TIP: Remember to brush off trimmings as you go. Dead ends could spread fungal diseases later down the line.

Hedge cutting tips

  • • Always check for neighbouring wildlife. It is a criminal offence to intentionally damage or destroy a nest, so keep a keen eye out before embarking on any trimming or pruning. You can read more about this in our blog post on hedge laws.
  • • To maintain your shrubs, lay down a mild feeding of compost or slow-release fertiliser before new growth begins.
  • • Struggling to keep a straight line? Simply attach a string to two wooden stakes. Drive them into the ground at either end of the hedgerow to give yourself clear boundary lines.

Ready to make the most of trimming season? Browse the Gtech lawncare range to find the best cordless hedge trimmers for your garden.