When To Cut A Hedge

The question of when to cut a hedge – or trim or prune it – is an important one. As a rule, deciduous hedges can be trimmed in mid to late summer, while evergreen hedges are best cut in early spring or early autumn. However, there are always exceptions. You can find recommended timings for trimming of all hedge species on our website, in our catalogue, or contact us for expert advice.

Have you just received your new hedge plants and are wondering if they need some extra attention other than planting? Immediately after planting, most hedging plants do not need pruning. The exceptions are quickthorn, blackthorn, laurel and bare root privet. If you want to make these dense and bushy from the get-go, you can cut these back by between a third and half their height. 

On your recently-planted deciduous hedge, there may be an initial wayward or damaged stem that warrants a light clip. In the years following, shorten the annual growth slightly to ensure a denser hedge.

Evergreens are a bit different; they won’t need trimming until the second year onwards when the sides can be lightly clipped to your required or desired shape. Once you know how tall you want your hedge to be, give its first cut just below the intended final height to make sure it fills out. 

Shape is also a significant consideration, even with the simplest rectangle of a hedge. When trimming the hedge, we would always recommend tapering the sides a little so that its base is slightly wider than the top. This way, daylight will always reach the lower parts of the hedge; you’ll keep the growth dense and bushy all the way up and avoid unsightly gaps at the base.