How to Use a Hedge Trimmer to Grow Healthier Hedges

Keeping your hedges clean and trimmed is a necessity towards a stylish lawn and pruned landscape, but not everyone can afford a routine landscaping service. Learning how to use a hedge trimmer is an easy homeowner’s secret to keeping your maintenance costs low and your lawn manicured. Hedges can enhance the curb appeal and will compliment lawns, walkways, trees, and gardens. Here are six steps for how to use a hedge trimmer safely and effectively.

Step 1: Set Up for Safety

Remember: when it comes to landscape maintenance, it’s always safety first. Set yourself up for success with a pair of safety goggles or glasses. Wear long sleeves, pants, and covered shoes to protect yourself from falling twigs and branches. Do not use a ladder or stepladder and instead keep hedges trimmed to a level you can easily reach from the ground. Most importantly, don’t use an electric hedge trimmer in the rain!

Step 2: Plug It In

The obvious next step is to get the power flowing to your hedge trimmer. If your hedge-trimmer isn’t gas-powered or battery-operated, you’ll need to keep the cord plugged in to a reliable power source. Use a safety-rated 3-prong extension cord and make sure to have plenty of length. Remember to account for the reaching up movements when trimming all the way around a hedge.

Step 3: Decide on a Style

When deciding, keep in mind that the healthiest hedges are shaped to allow for sunlight to hit all of the hedge, not just the top. A slight A-frame shape helps to maintain the healthy growth of roots and stems. To achieve optimum results, follow the natural design of the hedge and trim in a way that supports these features and preserves the character of the plant.

Step 4: Take It Slow

When using your first or any new hedge trimmer, keep it on the lowest setting while you get used to the movement and vibrations of it. Use two hands at all times to help guide your movements. If you would like a square-topped hedge, then keep the trimmer pointed away from you and keep it level along the top. To get square sides, guide the trimmer from the bottom all the way up the hedge. For a rounded top, then trim with an upward stroke, around 3 inches from the top, then move up while sloping the hedge away from you.

Step 5: Get the Growths Out

After you have shaped your hedge to the desired style, it’s time to tend to the plant! There is usually excess growth, dead or twisted branches, and/or twigs that you will want to cut off to promote healthy growth. Don’t attempt this step with your hedge trimmer! Put on a pair of work gloves and use pruning shears to get into all of the tight spots. Remember to trim unwanted twigs as close to their parent branch as possible.

Step 6: Clean Up

Use a lawn rake to sweep up all of the fallen branches, twigs, and leaves to keep your landscape looking fresh. If you have a lot of trimmings, it might be wise to use a wheelbarrow to transport all the twigs and branches to the curb. From there, you can bag your trimmings in recyclable paper lawn waste bags. Check your city’s waste management schedule to know when yard waste will be collected.

These tips will surely start you off in the right direction on how to use a hedge trimmer and maintaining a new and improved landscape! At Burkhard’s, we only provide top-quality products and feature Stihl products for our hedge trimmers. We have gas, electric, and battery-operated hedge trimmers, so you have the full-range of choices to pick from. Stop by to consult with a landscape expert or give us a call at 954.475.0310.

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