When it comes to marking boundaries around your home or adding elements of privacy, the hedge is often a firm favourite. Not only do hedges help encourage wildlife to the garden, but they’re often a sturdier alternative to fences.
Whilst hedges can be visibly appealing, to keep them looking aesthetically pleasing it’s important to trim them, with both deciduous and evergreen hedges requiring maintenance pruning every summer. In their pruning section the RHS also recommend if you have a box hedge, it should be pruned two to three times each growing season, whilst hawthorn hedges should be cut twice – once in the summer and once during the autumn.
Selecting the Right Hedge Trimmer:
To get the best cut on your hedge, you need to carefully consider the hedge trimmer you opt for – and when it comes to selecting the right one for you, the following considerations needs to be kept in mind.
There are 3 power types available – petrol, electric and battery – and each come with their own pros and cons. For example, both electric and battery operated hedge trimmers are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre compared to a petrol hedge trimmer, but the power offered is less.
Other pros and cons of an electric hedge trimmer include there being a constant power source, although they are restricted by the length of cord available. The battery powered models although lightweight often have a limited power supply; and petrol trimmers whilst more powerful are also often heavier and noisier.
Teeth Spacing / Blade Length:
Traditionally on a hedge trimmer the teeth spacing available will vary from half-an-inch to 1.5 inches, with the wider teeth spacing providing a rougher finish – although they are able to cut through thicker branches.
The blade length on such an appliance can also vary, but for most gardens a 14 inch blade would suffice, as although larger blades will enable you to have more reach across the hedgerow they model will be heavier.
When looking at the teeth spacing and blade length, it’s also recommended to check the blade action, and we suggest opting for a double-action blade, as these are more effective at cutting the hedge due to the blades moving in opposite directions.
Cutting your hedge can be a time consuming process, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable handling the hedge trimmer for extended periods of time. We therefore recommend handling a few models in the shop before purchasing, as this will give you a better idea of what you’re able to handle.
Long Reach Hedge Trimmers:
As hedge rows become established in the garden, keeping them trimmed can be difficult – especially when it comes to reaching areas of the hedge at height. In these situations, instead of precariously balancing on a ladder, consider the benefits offered by a long reach / telescopic hedge trimmer.
Long reach hedge trimmers are designed to make the cutting of tall hedges safer and easier, as they have a fixed / extendable shaft that allow users to cut the side of the hedge above head height. But choosing the right trimmer for your needs and requirements isn’t as simple as going to your local garden centre and purchasing the first model you see.
Instead, when it comes to selecting the right long reach hedge trimmer along with opting for the right power source (as outlined above), you also need to opt for a model which comes with an adjustable cutting head. Such a head provides the facility to angle the blades to the handle so you can achieve the required cut.
As a rule of thumb, when cutting the hedge do not try to force the hedge trimmer through thick branches. Unlike a chainsaw, the blades on such an appliance aren’t designed to cut thick branches and forcing them to can result in the blades becoming blunt and ineffective.
Using the right hedge trimmer for your needs and requirements will help you keep your boundaries looking neat and tidy, with minimal work being required from yourself. And to find out how to keep your hedge trimmer working to its full potential, visit the hedge cutter section on our advice centre.