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Trees to Hedges: How Far In Do You Trim?

As plant lovers, it’s quite natural that our protective instincts push them to shield their green friends from all possible hazards/dangers (internal and external). 

So, we often resort to the basic norms such as watering everyday, adding mulches regularly, and applying to trim. Needless to say, we keep doing this because we want them to, not just survive, but also thrive in all weather conditions.

The problem is, some plant owners or plant “parents” rather, go overboard. 

You see, while tree trimming is an essential key to plant care, cutting off too much can kill your shrubs and bushes. If you don’t know when to stop watering your plant, it won’t be able to protect itself or warn you, until it’s too late – and then it’ll die.

The whole idea of this blog post is to tell our readers how much you should trim their trees and hedges. Keep reading to find out if you’re trimming your trees and hedges right, or whether you should change your methods.

#1. Achieving the Ideal Amount of Tree Pruning

When trimming, many experts follow this rule: cut away no more than one-third of the usable wood. Anything less than that won’t accomplish much, and anything more than that could potentially impede its growth or even worsen the situation.

Trimming is supposed to help a plant grow, but if it loses too many branches, especially at the top, it can get affected by the sun’s heat, lose the nutrients it gets from its leaves, and then probably go into “shock” from trying to make up for what it has lost too much.

The process of regrowth involves a more careful yet balancing act – which means – the one-third rule is applicable to well-established shrubs – as well as – to small trees with fully-developed roots. When it comes to larger trees, it’s on one-fourth of the stems since trees do not have as many stems as shrubs do.

#2. Normal and Preventative Tree Pruning

If you really care about your trees, then you should know that it’s always best to prune trees on a routine basis. However, if you miss several seasons of pruning and the branches begin to break or become unruly, you will have to put in more effort. No matter the time of year, you should always prune away any branches that are either dead or infected. The next things to go are branches crossing each other and causing the bark to rub.

Hedge trimming

Dull, woody, dirty, neglected – that’s how one’s yard might look if their hedges aren’t sufficiently cared for.

Dense rows of planted shrubs can be a creative (and attractive) way to create borders and boundary lines – and also – keep your little ones and pets safe, inside (or outside), provide shelter and even food for birds. However, like most other plants, hedges, too, require regular trimming and watering (among other things) on a consistent basis in order to look their best.

Even while some of us might forget to water them during hot sultry weather or to fertilise in the early spring (in the 10-10-10 formula), the last section is where the majority of us really fail to perform.

Here are our top expert tips that’ll help you maintain hedge plantings

1. Hedges should be narrower at the top, wider at the bottom

If they are just left alone, most hedges will tend to spread out at the top, which is where they get the most sunlight. This causes the tree to take on a V-shape, which shades out lower branches, causing them to produce fewer and fewer leaves.

We, at ProArb Canterbury, always recommend that you maintain the V-shape more at the lower area than at the top. It doesn’t matter if the top is flat or pointed or rounded, the bottom of a sheared hedge should always be wider than the top, while the top should always be narrower. If you’re in Rangiora and need help with hedge trimming, get in touch with us today!

When you’re shearing, you should begin at the bottom and work your way up towards the top. You may also run a string line between the stakes to ensure an even line along the top for ultimate precision cutting, but we prefer to rely on it for a more natural look. We want the cut to look as though the growth is natural. 

During winter, it’s important to keep in mind that once you have buzz-cut the plant’s top portion, it will not shed snow as easily, which makes it more susceptible to snow damage (such as – broken branches). For the benefit of your tall hedges during winter, tie them up with rope or chain lock rather than hose-covered wire, which can girdle the trunks if left on too long. If you need more info from an expert or require DIY tips on hedge trimming in Rangiora, let our experts know, today!

2. Before planting, decide how tall and wide you want your hedge to be

Choose plants that naturally “build” a hedge, which means they naturally grow straight and tight. Plants that have the terms ‘columnar’ or ‘fastigiate’ in their names imply that kind of growth habit.

Some shrubs, such as Yew, Privet, and Boxwood, can withstand shearing and regular trimming and are, therefore, our favourite formal hedges. Most hedges need a minimum width of 3ft. When it comes to the height, it’s better if you keep them at a (roughly) eye level; otherwise, be okay about mounting a ladder!

Best way to plan

Before you begin planting, it’s best if you know how tall and how wide you want your hedge to be. We recommend that you research the growth pattern of any plant you wish to use as a hedge, then choose a type that won’t outgrow the area you have available, otherwise, maintaining them will be like pushing uphill against a strong current!

Know the difference between a hedge and a privacy plant

Expecting a hedge to provide a significant amount of privacy or to obstruct an undesirable view is quite unrealistic. In most cases, hedges are kept at a height of between 6 and 8 ft., although privacy plants can reach a height of up to 30ft.

In general, screen plantings are much wider than other types of plantings. They are composed of a variety of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and perennials that are spaced apart in a staggered pattern to provide a natural appearance. Our experts suggest that you should let a hedge function as it’s supposed to—as an aesthetically pleasing shrub border that encloses your yard and unifies the landscape.

There is, of course, more than one way to take care of trees and hedges. If you want to book an appointment for your tree or hedge trimming consultations in Rangiora, get in touch with us today!