Useful as boundaries, windbreaks or to guarantee privacy, conifer hedges also embellish a garden, especially if they are well-trimmed. To be successful, one must know the proper techniques and have the right tools. Thus, instead of letting the hedges grow and develop, they can be pruned at certain times, to yield dense foliage for example. 

Whether it is a cypress tree, a yew or another conifer, it is important to properly care for it, especially after a harsh winter. Well-maintained and well-trimmed, conifer hedges fulfill their roles effectively and contribute to their environment’s aesthetics. To undertake pruning of conifer hedges, it is necessary to be well-equipped and master the various pruning techniques.

Required tools for a good pruning 

Shears are a must for topiary and trimming small hedges, while pruning shears are very efficient for cuts. The grafting wax used to seal the flow of sap will help the plant heal. A hedge trimmer will be useful for larger hedges. Use a stool, scaffold or security ladder to reach high spots. Do not overlook security measures, and always use suitable gloves.

Pruning techniques 

During the first year, the plant must be left on its own. Never cut a conifer in its first year, wait at least two or three years before using shears. If your conifer tends to weaken and lose volume, give it more density by trimming down its height. Make sure your hedge does not rise to a peak and prune to 4 inches from the top whenever necessary. For extended hedges, stretch a wire held by two stakes at a height you deem appropriate. Then, follow that guide for pruning, and you will find that your hedge has perfect symmetry. A widely used technique is to trim conifers more closely at the bottom. Another pruning method consists of giving your hedge a compact look. To achieve such results, keep the bottom branches linked together without letting anything stick out freely. But, depending on the outline you want, a broader base is just as well. You should know that this method is adequate for isolated conifers, which do not necessarily serve as hedges. In that case, remember to separate or remove entangled branches. Despite the fact that the conifer is evergreen, it is useful to supply it with compost and keep it relatively moist in summer.

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Published in Hedges by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011