How To Trim Hedges With Electric Trimmer

How To Trim Hedges With Electric Trimmer

The hedge in your yard stands out but do you know how to trim hedges with electric trimmer? The hedge can be an eyesore or create a beautiful backdrop. Trimming is the difference between one image and the other. Electric Trimmers can save a lot of time and effort.

The best way to trim hedges with an electric trimmer is to start at the bottom of the hedge and work your way upcoming at an angle. Cut a few inches at a time to get the shape you want. When you reach the top, hold the electric trimmer flat and move it slowly across the top to create a perfectly flat shape.

This is a simple explanation of how to trim a hedge with an electric trimmer, but there is a lot more to know if your goal is to have perfect hedges that showcase the landscape of your property. 

Each hedge type is different and there is a lot to know in order to do it right and to maintain the ideal health and shape of each hedge and shrub. There are different kinds of hedge trimmers that can help you achieve a variety of effects. 

Electric trimmers have cords and require an electrical outlet so if your yard is large, you may want to have several hundred feet of extension cords so you can reach all areas with ease.

Not all electric hedge trimmers are created equally and it’s important to know the difference between them to find the perfect tool for the job. You’re in the right place to learn how to trim your hedges and shrubs like an expert so you’ll have the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood. 

We also look at the various electric hedge trimmers and their unique features along with their uses to give you useful information about what you can do with them and how to get spectacular results.

Your home represents you, so what does your yard say about you? Are you the home with the unkept yard and creepy hedge or are you the home with the magazine-cover yard and a perfectly sculpted hedge? 

A healthy hedge is a good-looking hedge, and trimming is an essential part of hedge health. What are you doing to take care of yours?

Using a hedge trimmer to keep your hedge in shape makes easy work of the task Pruning shears work too but will take so much longer. You can get a beautiful hedge in half the time, so long as you know how to use the hedge trimmer properly. 

We have the guide to help you do this and the top picks for hedge trimmers to buy. Learn all you need to know about how to trim hedges with electric trimmers and get and keep the garden everyone dreams of.

What Is The Proper Way To Trim Hedges

Shrubs and bushes do not get as much attention as trees and flowers. They are underrated but add a natural beauty to your landscaping. They can complement your home, add curb appeal, and serve as a privacy screen or windbreaker when large enough. You do not want them to get too large, however.

To provide these effects, hedges and shrubs need to be properly trimmed and maintained. Overgrown hedges are unsightly so you can prevent this with a quality hedge trimmer. It is relatively easy to do and the benefits of a well-trimmed hedge will be worth the effort you put in.

To do something right, it’s important to have a working knowledge of the details. Hedge trimming involves knowing a little about a lot. There are tricks to achieve even surfaces and maintaining them. 

Some hedges may be overgrown and need to be trimmed way back. If you have tall hedges, there are certain techniques that work best.

We also discuss specific types of shrubs and hedges such as cedar hedges, boxwoods, rose bushes, and other shrubs in our guide to proper hedge trimming. You can also use your hedge trimmer to cut branches if you have the right kind. 

Every landscape is different so we’ve prepared this guide about how to trim hedges with electric trimmer models that will give you the best results for your situation.

How To Trim Hedges Evenly

Hedges serve as ornamental landscaping or privacy screens, so long as they are properly trimmed. Hedges can be closely planted shrubs or dense deciduous bushes. 

They require regular trimming to maintain the right appearance and size. A more evenly trimmed shrub will look better so here are the steps to make sure you get an even trim each time.

The key to trimming hedges evenly is to move slowly and take a few inches at a time. Stop and look at the hedge before you begin to get an idea of the size and shape to achieve first.

More Than Just A Trimmer

To get a completely even trim, you will need to bring in some additional tools. Namely, metal stakes, a mallet, string, and a tape measure. These devices will help you mark out the area that needs to be cut precisely. 

You can always try and trim the hedge by sight alone, but chances are it will not be completely even. One section that is cut differently to another can throw the whole appearance off.

Trim The Top First

Using the stakes and string, create a framework around the hedge. Work in sections 10 feet long at a time depending on how big the hedge is. The string should be tied to the stakes at the height you want your hedge to be. 

Using your trimmer, cut everything that is protruding past the string to get an even trim across the top. You can remove stray branches with a reliable pair of pruning shears from Amazon if you need to.

Then The Sides

You want to place additional stakes at the bottom wider than the original ones. Make sure they are the same distance from the original stakes on each side. When you trim the sides, you will be angling the trimmer, so you create a base slightly wider than the top of the hedge. 

This allows sunlight to reach the base of the hedge so it will continue to grow in a healthy way.

Remember, on the upward pass, cut in with the trimmer held at an angle, but keep it even. You’ll cut more branches by doing this. As you reach the top, make sure the blade is completely even as you make the first pass across the top. You can make minor trims on the passes that will follow.

Make an initial pass and take just a few inches, moving upwards. Step back and inspect the job periodically to make sure you’re getting the desired results.

Trimming Hedges Way Back

There may be times when you find yourself looking at a very overgrown hedge. Maybe you got lazy, maybe it was a long winter, or maybe you just bought a home that needs some fixing up. 

In any case, you may have to trim the hedge back more than usual. This gets rid of any dead branches and allows the shrub or hedge to grow healthier.

What Is Normal

Normal pruning or trimming involves only trimming one third of the hedge during a season. Anytime you trim more than this, you risk stunting the hedges growth or damaging it. 

If you do not trim enough, then the hedge can still look overgrown and may not be allowing enough light to reach the roots for healthy growth. For this reason, the one-third trimming rule is what professionals recommend you follow.

When Normal Won’t Work

A neglected hedge may be so overgrown, that you need to forget the one third rule. In these cases, normal trimming will not work nor make any improvements. When you have an overgrown hedge, a more severe trimming job is required. 

This is professionally called rejuvenation pruning and involves you cutting the hedge level six to twelve inches above the ground. It may not look attractive at first, but it will grow in healthier and be restored to a healthier look and shape.

How To Trim Overgrown Hedges

Overgrown hedges may look hopeless, but they really give you the opportunity to be creative. When you have an idea of the shape you want to achieve, start at the bottom and work your way up, using the same approach as you would with a hedge that needs minor trimming.

You’re likely to have a combination of small branches along with some much larger ones if the hedge is seriously overgrown. This may require a heavy-duty electric trimmer that can cut branches that have reached a thick diameter. 

If this is the case, you need an electric trimmer that is up to the task.

How To Trim Tall Hedges With Electric Trimmer

Deciduous and evergreen hedges are typically very tall and will require a different approach. You can prune or trim a few branches at a time, but an all over and more extensive trimming will leave a better-looking hedge. 

It also encourages better growth. To trim a taller hedge, you will need an extendable trimmer as well as stakes and string.

How To Trim Tall Hedges With Electric Trimmer

Trimming The Tall Hedges

Place your stakes on opposite sides of the hedge, tying the string between them at the desired height. The top branches need to be shorter than the lower ranches so the base can get enough sunlight. 

If the taller branches are wider, they block the bottom layer from the sunlight, preventing growth. This can cause the leaves to turn brown. Using extendable trimmers can be dangerous, so make sure you protect your hands with a sturdy pair of gardening gloves from Amazon.

Tips For Trimming Tall Hedges

You want to shear the top of tall hedges daily so it can continue to grow. If not, it can end up looking spindly if you let it grow upwards too quickly. Always use a ladder when you are trimming the tops. 

If you use a long-arm trimmer, then be sure to check the top from a ladder when you are done to make sure it is even all the way across. Avoid trimming tall hedges during the winter because the new branches will not have time to harden and the cold weather will prevent their growth.

How To Trim Cedar Hedge With Electric Trimmer

A cedar hedge should be trimmed sometime in June. Cedar hedges have lilacs and they will have finished blooming by this time, indicating that it is time for a trim. 

There will be no more growth at this point and trimming it at this time leaves it primed for optimal growth next season. If you prune it during the growing season, it could cause damage and stress the tree.

Cedars grow anywhere from one to three feet per year so it’s important to keep this in mind when trimming. It’s okay to trim between one to two-thirds of the annual new growth without damaging the plants.

The Right Time

It is important to get the time right for cedar hedges. Many leave trimming until September but this creates unnecessary challenges. It is more difficult at this time to distinguish between new growth and older growth and you may remove healthy new branches and leaves. 

This will stunt the growth for the next season and can render the hedge looking unhealthy.

What To Trim

When you trim a cedar hedge, you want to remove two-thirds of the length of the current year’s shoots. An electric trimmer is the most efficient way to achieve this, just take care not to cut too much. Younger cedar hedges will need less trimming so they can reach their desired height. 

Once this height is reached, you will need to trim more often to maintain it. Use stakes and string to mark where you want to trim just as with any other hedge This will give the most accurate and even cut.

Trimming Boxwoods With Electric Trimmer

Boxwood hedges are extremely popular in landscaping, so it helps to know if there are any specific ways to trim these hedges. Boxwoods are prone to damage in the winter so they must be pruned carefully. 

The ideal timing is when they are at the peak of the dormancy period. It’s best to trim them just prior to the appearance of new growth to give the plants time to recover.

You can trim them dramatically, but timing is everything. When you plan to trim your boxwoods, you need to take the age of the plant into consideration. Younger hedges will benefit from more frequent trims than older ones.

Get Familiar With Boxwoods

Over shearing a boxwood hedge can leave overly dense growth and this will block sun from reaching the center. The inner branches will end up bare and vulnerable to disease. Larger branches of boxwoods can be removed if diseases should occur. 

Do not do this unless there is disease or dying branches as removing too much can kill the entire shrub. It may be helpful to have a gardening pouch from Amazon to hold all your additional tools such as pruning shears, that way everything is handy when you need it.

The Perfect Topiary

Boxwood shrubs make the best topiaries. They can be molded into any shape you like and can range from two feet to as high as ten feet. For the larger frames, you may need more than one shrub. 

When you have a boxwood topiary, trim them in the spring each year before new growth begins. Trim them in a way to train smaller branches to conform to the shape and longer branches to prevent outward growth. 

With regular trimming in his fashion, the shrub can take any shape and become a perfect talking piece for your garden.

Trimming Boxwoods With Electric Trimmer

Can You Use A Hedge Trimmer To Cut Branches

Hedge trimmers are for shaping and trimming hedges and shrubs. Typically pruning shears are used to cut branches, but depending on the trimmer and the branch, you can also use a trimmer to do the job. 

It is important to remember that trimmers do not have as much power as chainsaws, so you will only be able to cut smaller branches.

Despite their sharp blades, hedge trimmers are not designed for cutting branches. This is especially true for thicker branches. That being said, they can cut through smaller branches if needed. 

If you have thick branches in your shrubs, you may need to use a chainsaw to remove them.

The blades of a hedge trimmer move in a back-and-forth motion, which is perfect for trimming leaves and small twigs or branches. Depending on the trimmer you have, you can expect to cut up to ½ inch with ease. Any more than that will need to be confirmed by the manufacturer. 

Even if you find that you can cut through branches, you may not want to do it often as it will dull your blades.

How To Shape Bushes With Hedge Trimmer

Hedge trimmers make it easy to keep your hedges and bushes healthy and in great shape. Bushes can become overgrown very quickly if you are not careful, so it is important to develop a regular trimming routine to prevent this. 

A precisely trimmed bush can make all the difference to your landscaping and the value of your home.

Using hedge trimmers make it easy to keep bushes nice and tidy, especially those that require frequent cutting like boxwoods. Trimmers, however, are not good for thinning branches so you need to keep pruning shears on hand for this task. 

As for giving your hedge, bush, or shrub that perfect shape, all you need is the right trimmer.

Precision cuts are required for shaping bushes. This is why it’s so important to make small cuts that don’t go too deeply. It’s best to take it slow, taking off a little at a time. You can always go over an area to remove growth, but you can’t put it back on.

How To Trim Bushes With Electric Trimmer

Before you start trimming the hedges or bush, you need to make sure you are protected. It is not just the blades on the trimmer you need to worry about, but you also have to worry about flying debris. 

Along with gloves you want to protect your eyes with a reliable pair of safety goggles from Amazon. You should also wear long sleeves and long pants as well as covered shoes.

You trim bushes in the same way as you would a hedge. Because they are smaller than hedges, they will grow quicker so you will likely have to trim them more often. When the bush is already properly shaped you will notice any growth right away.

Basic trimming for bushes involves figuring out the shape that you want and removing growth in key areas to achieve the shape. Slow and steady cuts that involve a series of passes is the best strategy. A simple trim is accomplished by starting at the bottom and working your way up.

If you only want to remove outlying branches, this is easy. If you are aiming to do an all over trim, you simply need to sweep the trimmer across the surface, being sure not to remove more than one-third. 

Take a step back from the bush every now and then to make sure the trim is even.

How To Trim Bushes With Electric Trimmer

How To Trim Bushes Round

Bushes are trimmed into spherical shapes more often than not. Round bushes give a softer look to your landscaping. It takes a little more work to trim round bushes, but with a little patience, you too can do this with ease. 

If you only have smaller bushes, then a regular electric trimmer might be too large which can cause accidents. In this case, you can invest in a smaller 2-in-1 trimmer from Amazon to handle the task with ease.

To start trimming round bushes, remove all dead limbs with pruning shears. Once these are removed, the overall shape of the bush may be different, so this will impact how much you trim. You don’t want to remove them after trimming in case it changes the shape and leaves an uneven bush.

Cut branches back to the point where you see green vegetation and then cut 2 inches in front of this. Trim top stems to get the desired height, making cuts just above leaves or stems branching out from the one you are trimming. 

Make sure your cuts are at slight angles and trim from the top. Move to branches just out from the top and cut these slightly further into the bush to develop a slope.

Continue like this until you reach the halfway point of the sides of the bush. Even out all branches that are sticking out and once they are smooth trim all sides slightly inward. 

Work your way back to the top of the bush in this way and you will meet the original slope you created coming down the other side. You will have a neatly trimmed circular bush.

Can You Trim Wet Bushes With Electric Hedge Trimmers

Hedge trimmers do not know the difference between wet and dry leaves. They will be able to cut through both with ease, so long as the branches are not too thick. That being said, you should only use gas-powered trimmers to cut wet hedges.

You never want to use an electric trimmer for these conditions as you can damage both the trimmer and you. Should you only have an electric trimmer, it is advised to only use cordless on wet hedges.

You do not want anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet to be near any wet surface.

Once you have the appropriate trimmer, there are additional precautions to take to make sure you are safe, and the trimmer is not damaged.

  • Make sure the teeth on the blades are sharp because wet branches will reduce traction
  • Make sure the teeth are lubricated because the water will reduce the mobility of the blades
  • Dry all areas that get wet with a rag to prevent rust
  • Wear shoes with good traction in case the ground is still wet and slippery too

Best Trimmer For Hedges

The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer on Amazon is the top pick for trimming hedges and bushes. It is lightweight and easy to carry but powerful enough to cut even the densest hedges. 

You get a well-balanced machine that will not fatigue you so you can work for longer. The trimmer is powered by a rechargeable battery that runs for an extended time as compared to other trimmers.

The battery trimmer is also recommended over the corded version in the event you have to work with wet hedges. The dual-action blades provide even and precise cuts with 40% less vibration for your comfort. 

You can cut ¾ inch with ease thanks to the 2,400 strokes per minute and the comfort grip handle gives you complete control.

What I like:

  • Powerful but lightweight
  • Less vibration
  • Quiet operation
  • 2-year limited warranty

What I don’t like:

  • Battery takes 4 hours to charge

The Scotts Outdoor Power Tools HT 10020S 20-inch Electric Hedge Trimmer on Amazon is an excellent electric hedge trimmer that is top-rated because it provides a powerful 3.2 amp motor that holds up well under heavy trimming jobs. 

It comes with a built-in cord retention system, so you don’t have to worry about the cord coming unplugged from the power source.

The blade is 20 inches and cuts a wide swath that is capable of tackling limbs up to 5/8 inch in diameter. The cuts are fast and clean thanks to the dual-action blade that reduces cutting time and effort. 

This is ideal for anyone who has a variety of hedge, bush, and shrub trimming jobs around the house.

What I like:

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Strong cutting blades for its size
  • Ideal for light bushes

What I don’t like:

  • A little noisy

Overall, this is an excellent trimmer for light to moderate everyday trimming jobs. It’s good for trimming hedges, shrubs, and bushes. It packs a lot of power for its size and we like the fact that it makes clean cuts. 

It’s moderately priced and it even comes with a protective blade cover for safer storage when it’s not in use.

Best Trimmer For Tall Hedges

For trimming tall hedges, you want to go with the Sun Joe SJH901E 18-Inch Electric Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer on Amazon. This corded electric trimmer is low in price but high in quality and will give you the extra reach you need for taller hedges. 

The telescopic handle extends by 7.4 feet giving you a total reach of 13 feet. You also get a pivoting head for more accuracy and precision in your trimming. This is especially beneficial for the tops of tall hedges that you cannot see.

The 3.8amp motor is quiet yet powerful allowing you to cut anything up to 0.7” in diameter. The blade is 18 inches in length which makes it easier for you to perform a number of jobs. It is also made from rust-resistant steel so it will perform at high levels no matter what. 

You also get a safety strap to help hold the trimmer in position.

What I like:

  • Adjustable pivot head
  • Rust-resistant blade
  • Up to 13-feet total reach
  • Simple start mechanism

What I don’t like:

  • A little heavy

Tips For Cutting Hedges

Cutting hedges can be fun and enjoyable when you know the basics. It is an easy task when you have the right electric hedge trimmer and accessories. We have recommended the top hedge trimmers to get and now we want to help you get your hedge trimming done just right. 

With the right guidance and some helpful tips, you can keep your hedge perfectly trimmed and looking great all year. Proper trimming also ensures the hedge stays healthy and adds both aesthetic appeal and value to your house.

Hedge Trimming Season

It is important to trim your hedges and shrubs at the right time each year. Cutting too late or too early can interfere with its growth. It also allows dead branches to linger for too long which increases the risk of disease. 

The time to trim hedges will depend strongly on the kind of hedge you have.

New hedges need to be trimmed right after planting them which is best in late winter or spring or in the summer and fall. When planted in the spring, cut the branches back right after the buds begin to break. 

If planted in the summer, cut them back late in the season. Trim the branches back 6 to 8 inches to allow for most growth when it is time to resume growing.

Evergreen Hedges Need to be trimmed right before the dormancy period. This will be late winter or early spring and you will want to remove 6 to 8 inches of growth. You will also want to trim them lightly through the summer to prevent overgrowth.

Deciduous hedges only require maintenance in the early spring months right before new buds break. You only need to remove dead wood and anything beyond the original shape of the hedge. This rejuvenating trim keeps the hedge in its natural shape for the entire summer.

When Should You Not Trim Hedges

Technically there is no bad time to trim your hedge. There are seasons and times of year when it will benefit the hedge more as mentioned above. But there is not a time when it should not be done. 

It depends on your hedge and how healthy it is growing. You do not want to trim it too often as this can damage the plant and its growth.

Never take off more than ⅓ pf the overall hedge within a growing year to prevent this. It is also recommended to limit or avoid trimming during April and August as this is when birds like to nest. 

If you have especially tall or dense hedges, you may end up with some occupants, in which case trimming is not a good idea, until they have moved on.

Helpful Tips To Know How To Trim Hedges With Electric Trimmer

When you have the right hedge trimmer and you know the type of hedge you have, trimming each year is a simple task.

  • Start from the bottom and work upwards
  • Go slowly and take your time
  • Only take a few inches off during your first pass
  • Make angle cuts in the side and lay the blade blat for shaping the top

In addition to this, you also need to stay safe as trimming hedges can be dangerous if safety is not a priority. Always make sure you have the following:

  • Proper clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Gloves and protective eyewear

You also need to perform regular maintenance on your hedge trimmer. Make sure the blades are lubricated and rust-free. You also need to make sure the blades are sharp and ready to go each season. 

If you have not used the trimmer for a year, let it warm up first and test it before trimming your hedge.

Final Thoughts

To have the best landscaping, it is essential to know how to trim hedges with electric trimmers. While there is a lot you can do with pruning shears, this can take much longer. Hedge trimmers, when used properly provide precise and accurate trims to hedges, shrubs, and bushes.

Our Guide and reviews show you how to trim hedges with electric trimmer devices. After finishing it’s clear to see that the kind of trimmer you use can make a big difference in how fast and easy the job can be. 

It’s important to have a trimmer that has the most useful features for the type of trimming that you need to do

Landscaping says a lot about a home and a hedge can speak volumes. Don’t let an overgrown hedge reduce the value of your home or block your views. Get the hedge in shape with a hedge trimmer. 

With our guide, helpful tips, and the best trimmers out there, you will have the most envied hedge and yard in no time.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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