Trimming hedges is hard work, but the results make it well worth your while, cleaning up the look of your garden. Frequent trimming will help you to keep a hedge healthy, maintain an attractive appearance, and reduce the chances of insect issues in the hedge too.
For hedge trimming, there are several kinds of trimmers, and the right one will depend on factors, such as the type of hedge and size of the garden. The information below can help you find the best hedge trimmers for your needs, whether you’re looking to invest in a new pair or replace an older pair.
What are Hedge Trimmers?
Hedge trimmers are gardening tools that are used to trim hedges or shrubs. While regularly caring for the grass is important, so too is trimming and pruning shrubs, hedgerows, and bushes. Otherwise, they can get unruly and limit the green space in a yard.
Thus, a hedge trimmer is just as important as a lawnmower. But with so many models available, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. The information below can help you make a more informed decision. There are two main classifications for hedge trimmers: manual and motorised.
Hand-operated hedge shears look much like oversized scissors. They have long blades that are usually straight, although there are wavy versions that make holding stems in place easier.
The long blades (often under a foot in length), are designed to cut through a big area, such as a dense shrub, with each stroke. They create long, straight edges on the cut stems.
Motorised Models: Electric vs. Petrol
However, if you have a large job, want to work more efficiently, or make the job easier for tired hands, electric and gas versions are also available. Electric hedge trimmers are more lightweight and affordable than gas-powered, and they come in cord or cordless models.
The electric hedge trimmers are also often easier to start than their gas counterparts. However, gas models have the edge up on electric ones as they are the faster choice for big yards and easier to use for shrubs that are less accessible (close to walls, for example). Gas ones are typically more powerful than electric, so they are usually best for tackling large shrubs.
Choosing the Right Type for Your Project
When buying hedge trimmers, choose the power source that corresponds to your project. Gas-powered is more powerful than electric, generally. Keep in mind, though, that different models have different levels of power. As for how much power you will need, that will depend on the types of hedges you plan to trim, their size, and how much power you feel comfortable controlling.
In addition to coming in different power levels, they also are available in varying blade lengths. Longer ones make the trimming more even than shorter ones, but they can be hard to manage when you work in a tight space. Shorter ones are safer if you are new to this type of work.
You will also want to pay attention to the distance between the blade teeth when considering which hedge trimmers to purchase. Many homeowners find that smaller blade gaps between teeth (3/4 of an inch or less) work well, while bigger gaps of an inch or more are better for commercial uses.
A final consideration is whether you want hedge trimmers with single- or double-sided blades. The single blade is safer and easier to use, but those who have more landscape experience may prefer the double-sided kind to complete the work quickly as it cuts both sides simultaneously.
How to Use Hedge Trimmers?
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to use the tool safely, as well as how to maintain it.
Whether you are new to using hedge trimmers or more experienced, it is important not to get complacent about safety. Always treat the blades with care to minimize the risks of an accident.
Several modern hedge trimmers have safety features. For instance, some of them cut shut off to the blade automatically when the trigger is released. Some have shields by the front handle, too, so that your hand does not accidentally get close to the blade while using the tool.
Ideally, you will also wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and gloves. If it is a loud model, then also consider wearing earplugs to protect your hearing.
When carrying the tool, do so by its handles and turn it off when walking around the yard (or anywhere else). Before starting to use it, hold the handles with both hands and stand firm, as well as using the safety guidelines mentioned above.
When working on the top of a shrub, use a wide, sweeping action with a slight downward angle. Again, wear the safety equipment described earlier. If you find it difficult to trim the hedges level, consider getting a leveling string. Stretch the string across the top of the hedges to provide a guideline to work from.
As for the sides of the hedges, start the job from the bottom first. Then work your way up to make the project significantly easier for you.
The trimming tools always require maintenance to extend their lifespan. For example, gas trimmers require refilling the fuel tank, with the right mix of oil and gas when necessary. The spark plug may need replacement over time, and the intake vent will need clearing out.
For any type of hedge trimmers, you must keep the blades sharp for the best performance. That involves either sharpening the blades yourself or replacing dull ones with new.
Always clean it after use too. Between uses, store the tool on a higher shelf or in a locked case so that kids or anyone else does not use it without permission and risk injury.
Modern garden hedge trimmers make cutting hedges significantly easier. Selecting the right type of trimming tool will help you do the job well.