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If you have trees or shrubs on your property, it is important to take proper care of them. One of the most important things you can do to keep your trees in good health is to trim and hedge them as needed. Doing so can help prevent overgrowth while also getting rid of dead or dying branches. Meanwhile, properly trimmed and hedged trees will also keep your property looking its best.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got some tree-trimming trips you can follow!

Properly Trimming Hedge Trees

For hedge trees, there are some specific steps you will want to follow to yield the best results.

Step 1: Trim the Sides of the Hedges First

First, you want to trim one side of the hedge first until the bush is at your desired thickness. If you are using an electric hedge clipper, it is important to work from right to left here. By using slow and repetitive motions, you will maintain a more uniform shape. Meanwhile, be sure to also keep your clippers parallel with the side of the hedge to maintain a flat and even shape. Wait until you finish one side before moving onto the next.

Step 2: Use Pruners to Remove Thick Branches

Once you’re done trimming the sides of the hedges, it’s time to use your pruners to remove thick branches. When doing this, it is best to cut branches off where they meet the main trunk of the tree. Just keep in mind that this type of pruning should be done in early spring or winter because it can be harsh on the tree and will require some time for the tree to recover.

Step 3: Trim the Top of the Hedges

After pruning the tree, it’s time to trim the tops of the hedges. Two stall stakes should be placed on opposite sides of the hedge; these will serve as your guide to ensure the top of the hedge is level and straight. You’ll also want to make sure that each stake is straight before hammering them into the ground and tying a piece of string between the poles to serve as a visual guide.

From there, use your clippers in the same way you did when trimming the sides, working from right to left with slow and repetitive motions.

How to Properly Trim a Tree

Trimming a tree, which is also known as pruning, comes with its own unique challenges. No matter how you prune your tree, it is always important to cut carefully so as not to damage your tree.

Basic Pruning Tips

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In general, all cuts should be made on the branch-side of the stem collar; this is the part of the stem that grows out from the base of the branch. By cutting here, you can protect the branch from further damage while allowing the tree to properly heal.

You’ll also want to prevent tearing bark by using a “three-cut” method. This entails making a small, wedge-shaped cut under the brand and then cutting the branch 6-12 inches from the wedge. From there, cutting parallel to the branch and removing the stub will protect the bark.

When pruning a tree, always make sure you have the right tools, such as:

  • loppers (ideal for small tree branches, climbing vines, and large shrubs)
  • anvil blades (great for blunt cuts to dead branches)
  • bypass models (ideal for new growth)

Meanwhile, keep in mind that different plants require pruning during different seasons as explained below.

Spring Pruning

With flowering shrubs, be sure to cut down dead blooms. This will encourage healthy and fresh growth throughout the spring months.

With hedges and perennials, always prune last year’s perennial plants to encourage healthy growth. Shape up unruly hedges and remove harmful growth that may have started over the fall.

Summer Pruning

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When pruning hydrangeas, prune as the flowers begin to fade. This can occur at the beginning or middle of summer, depending on where you live. With fruit trees, this is a good time to remove unhealthy or inedible fruit and to thin out dense areas so that branches don’t get overloaded and break.

Fall Pruning

Corrective pruning during the fall will help plants grow healthier next spring while also protecting them during the winter. In general, it is best to avoid making any serious changes to your hedges or trees at this time. Instead, focus on removing dead or dying branches—and always start with small cuts.

Winter Pruning

Pruning damaged, dead, or diseased branches is a must during the winter. This will encourage healthier growth during the spring. Just keep in mind that you should not cut more than a third of a tree’s branches that produce new growth during a pruning session.

Need Help Creating or Caring for Your Perfect Landscape?

With the right tips, you can properly prune and trim your trees to keep them healthy and beautiful. Looking for more help with beautifying your landscape? Our team at Landscape By Design is here to help; contact us today to schedule your free consultation!