One of the most common questions I get is when to prune hedges, and how to control their size.
I like to keep things straightforward , so start by establishing a few facts about your hedge.
First of all – is your hedge evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous?
Does it grow vigorously?
Do you need it to grow wider/taller are you keeping it at a certain height?
Does it flower?
Then you apply some rules:
Firstly – don’t prune hedges where there are nesting birds, and this can be from March- August. Always check.
Evergreen hedges such as Ilex (Holly) and Taxus bachata (Yew) need only one cut in August/September.
Evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges that grow vigorously i.e. Buxus sempervirens ( Box) need to be trimmed twice a year in May/June and August/September. The exception here is Lonicera nitida, which requires three cuts in May, July and September as it can become unruly.
Deciduous hedges such are Fagus sylvatica ( Beech) and Carpinus betulus ( Hornbeam) require one cut in August/September.
Deciduous hedges that grow vigorously such as Crataegus monogyna ( Hawthorn) need two cuts in June and September.
If your hedge has reached your desired height you need to take off almost all of this year’s growth leaving a small amount to maintain the height.
If your hedge is still growing to its desired height shorten any sideshoots only by a third to allow it to thicken.
If your hedge flowers then wait until the flowers have faded before you prune.