When Is The Best Time To Trim and Prune Your Hedges?

how to trim and prune your hedge

Since time immemorial, people have been concerned with the health of their plants.

Pruning and trimming are common tactics utilized to maintain and care for gardens. As both processes are regularly used on the farm, it is essential to know when to trim hedges and prune at the best time.

To better understand the necessity of the two methods, below is the definition of what each term stands for. As well, there are varying factors that differentiate between trimming and pruning.

Defining Pruning and Trimming?

Most people use these two terms interchangeably to refer to the other, which is wrong.

In gardening, pruning and trimming refer to two different techniques that use varying equipment.


difference between pruning and trimming

Pruning involves the strategic removal of branches and stems that display undesirable properties in a plant.

One of the main reasons why people prune vegetation is to enhance farm safety.

A key aspect you should be familiar with when it comes to pruning is pollarding. It occurs when one gets rid of the topmost branches to promote the vigorous lateral growth of units. You use pollarding when you want to have dense foliage.

Benefits of pruning

When you remove infected, loose, and dead branches, you prevent harm and injury to other plants or people. When it gets windy, you are protected from loosely attached twigs and falling debris.

Pruning creates a chain effect resulting in healthier plants as new growth is encouraged.

An un-pruned hedge is a preferred habitat for pests and animals. Critters and creatures of all kinds prefer overgrown vegetation as it provides more cover and food. Regular pruning deters pest infestation and destruction of the plants.

Pruning is also used for aesthetic purposes. Some people prefer having rounded tops, while others will go the extra mile to create fancy and playful figures depending on their preferences and tastes.

In this case, pruning helps one achieve the desired shape to enhance the plant aesthetically. Geometrical figures and animal forms are some popular shapes you will see carved out of bushes and trees.



Trimming, on the other hand, applies to the clipping of the tips of twigs and branches to improve the aesthetic appeal of the hedge.

It involves skimming the tops and sides to create a manicured, clean look. Experts recommend learning when to trim hedges to avoid damaging your beautiful plant life.

The practice of trimming hedges, trees, and bushes to achieve a desired aesthetic effect is both art and a science. It is popularly referred to as the topiary.

Topiary is the horticultural practice of training plants to maintain an ornamental shape. These artificial, decorative shapes are achieved through clipping of the twigs and foliage. If you have ever seen the famous 90s screenplay Edward Scissorhands by Tim Burton, you are vaguely familiar with topiary.

You can visit various regions globally to see highly notable displays of topiary art such as the Green Animals Topiary Garden on Rhode Island in the United States or the breathtaking landscape of the grand Château de Villandry in France.

Benefits of trimming

The biggest perk of trimming is that it curbs overgrowth. When you regularly maintain your hedges, you control its growth within the garden.

The principle behind why hairdressers advise their clients to trim the edges of their hair to improve vitality applies to your hedges. Trimming occasionally stimulates new growth, reducing the occurrence of long-term damage. You also deter pest infestations by eliminating overgrown parts.

You are in control of the appearance of your hedges. You decide how to trim and the shape you prefer. Beautifully trimmed hedges improve not only the beauty of your exterior but also increases the value of the property.

In case you decide to put up your house for sale, your landscape plays a significant role. A healthy and beautiful hedge will help you attract high-value buyers. Pictures you take for your listings will also be attractive on multiple listing sites.

What is the Difference Between Pruning and Trimming?

pruning with shears

Although both processes include clipping off branches and foliage, the purpose for doing so may vary based on the frequency of service and equipment used.

Type of equipment

Gardeners and landscapers often used two types of shears when pruning hedges— hand shears and lopping shears. The prior is used for sparse foliage, small twigs and branches, and easy to remove buds.

They are small hand-held tools that one can use with one hand. The latter have longer handles and are specially designed to exert more force while cutting. Thus lopping shears are primarily utilized to cut off thick branches. Pruning saws are brought in when the branches are difficult to handle with shears.

A hedge trimmer is the best tool for trimming hedges. But both shears mentioned above for pruning are useful for trimming as well. You may use a power tool like a hedge trimmer powered by gas or electricity for more rigid shrubs.


Usually, the weather conditions, the type of plant, and your preference will dictate when to trim hedges or prune them. Pruning is done once or twice a year, depending on the plant’s growth and flowering season rate.

On the flipside, trimming may be considered subsidiary to pruning. However, it would be best if you observed the growth cycle of the plant. For instance, clipping the hinges is best done during the flowering season.

When is the Best Time to Trim Your Hedges?

man trimming high hedge

Keeping a regular trimming schedule reduces damage to the shrubs or bushes.

Before you decide to begin trimming, assess whether it is necessary. Yes, your plants are growing but not rapidly.

Trimming is more of an aesthetic approach; thus, the constant maintenance may be unnecessary. Experts advise gardeners to trim hinges on a hedge based on its appearance. A general rule is to carry out cutting before branch growth exceeds one foot.

Therefore, summer flowering plants are better trimmed during winter and spring. In comparison, late June is appropriate for those that flower in the spring season, right after their blooming cycle. Non-flowering plants are best trimmed after new growth has formed.

For instance, boxwoods need trimming once a month during the growing season as their growth rate is relatively slow. Plants like privet may require trimming every week during summer and spring.

Why Should You Trim Your Hedges?

Hedges are a focal point in any landscape; this is why you should strive to keep it in good condition.

You get rid of infected and dead parts to promote healthy growth. You prevent the spread of infections when you get rid of diseased twigs. Below are some reasons why you should consider trimming your hedges:

  • Helps maintain the vibrancy and health of your shrubs. Light and moisture circulate better.
  • Increases privacy. Thick well-maintained hedges prevent nosy neighbors and snooping passers-by from peeping into your property.
  • Enhances the beauty of your landscape. You define the height, color, and shape of the hedge to accentuate the scenery or break up an open space.
  • Act as a barrier against harsh weather elements. They break strong winds so you can enjoy outdoor activities with your family.
  • Eliminate the occurrence of pests and diseases. The spread of infections is curbed when you remove diseased parts. Animals like birds are also discouraged from creating a home within the hedge.

How to Trim and Prune Hedges

best time to trim hedge

All seasoned gardeners are concerned with trimming and pruning as regular maintenance procedures for their hedges.

Begin with pruning. Remove unwanted growth like small branches that grow at the base of the plant. Try cutting along the unit just above the new development to maximize penetration of sunlight, air, and moisture. If you would like to promote growth along the limb, consider clipping further back. The gaps you create will fill with new growth, making the hedge fuller.

You can then move to trim. Use objects to help you cut straight lines, such as strings tied on stakes. If you are a perfectionist, a spirit level is best. As you run your hedge trimmer along the sides and tops, the blade removes the parts you do not want.

Take regular breaks between to check your work. Ensure the base is wider than the top for added stability.

Tip for Thought

patience and aestetics

The majority of people are bound by constraints of time. One may be overwhelmed between balancing an available work schedule and maintaining your home.

You may be tempted to let your hedges grow indiscriminately, which will undoubtedly cost more in the future. Consider hiring professional services from landscapers.

There are hundreds of landscaping companies you can outsource. However, ensure they are reputable and come highly recommended. They should have your best interests in mind to execute and manage all aspects of the trimming process with utmost expertise.

Final Word

Why should you bother with maintaining your hedges?

After all, they are nature’s babies and should be left to flourish. Contrary to popular belief, a well-maintained fence offers more benefits than what meets the eye.

Therefore, trimming and pruning will make your landscape look beautiful, and with these gardening practices, your hedges will be healthier.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *