How to trim a conifer hedge

Do it:

May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

Takes just:

15 minutes

The easiest way to trim an established conifer hedge such as Thuja plicata is by using a powered hedge-trimmer to give a regular, even finish. Quick-growing conifers will need about three cuts per year during the growing season, at roughly eight week intervals.

Inspect your hedge thoroughly before trimming it to ensure there are no birds nesting within. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Here's how to prune a conifer hedge.

You will need

  • Conifer hedge
  • Electric or petrol-powered hedge-trimmer
  • Safety goggles, gloves
  • String line and canes
  • Secure ladder and/or work platform for tall hedges

Advertisement

Use long bamboo canes to mark the top edge along one side of the hedge. Push the canes down into the hedge.

Tie strong string between the canes to mark a straight edge as a guide to cut to. Check the string line is taut.

Trim the top of the hedge by holding the hedge-trimmer horizontally with both hands and using the string line as a guide. Wear protective goggles and gloves and make sure you have a firm footing on a ladder or a platform for tall hedges.

Clip the sides of the hedge using the string as a guide. Hold the hedge-trimmer vertically and make long sweeping strokes to ensure an even finish.

Remove the canes and string line before using the hedge-trimmer to tidy up the top edges. Hold the cutting bar at a 45-degree angle.

Advertisement

Muddy boots

Test any ladders and platforms to make sure they are stable before getting on them with a hedge-trimmer. Make them more secure by tying them in to the hedge with a strong rope.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Trimming a hedge

How can I close a gap in a privet hedge?

Can I get my neighbours to trim their hedge?

Related offers

Offer

Save £17 on blackcurrants

Enjoy the delicious taste of fresh, home-grown blackcurrants for less. You can buy one blackcurrant 'Ben Connan' for £9.99, or save £17.98 when you buy three for just £11.99.

Order now

Offer

Savill Garden event

Savill Garden event - extra date added

Join us for a special pruning day with David Hurrion on Monday 9 April, 2018 at The Savill Garden. Including a welcome from Keeper of the Gardens, John Anderson. You'll also receive a goody bag worth over £25 and a 10% discount in the shop.

Order now

Offer

Heather offer

Save on heathers

Inject some colour into your winter and spring planting schemes with this beautiful collection of hardy heathers from only £2.55 per plant. These ericaceous plants make brilliant weed-suppressing ground cover and look fantastic with spring bulbs. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now