In accordance to the Wildlife Act, the season when cutting hedgerows and verges is between the start of September and the end of February the following year
IF YOU have not already done so, this is a good time to prune over-sized hedges and overgrown shrubs.
Firstly, I would like to point out that, under the wildlife act, it is forbidden to cut hedgerows along uncultivated ground for the six months from March 1 until August 31. This is to provide as much habitat for wildlife as possible. So if you decide to cut hedges now you can be rest assured of minimal upset to wildlife.
In any garden, a hedge whether tall or short, bushy or formal can be used to define property boundaries, screen unwanted views or noise, and provide an important framework for the layout and design of your other plants; however, without proper maintenance all of these structural values can be lost, especially if a hedge is left to become overgrown.
If when planting a new hedge you choose the correct species for the size and type of hedge that you require, the issue of an overgrown hedge can be avoided altogether.
By researching the growth rate, the final height and the level of upkeep required, you will understand how much work you are committing to in order to achieve the hedge you desire. For example, if you are looking for a fast growing species to create a formal hedge boundary, you could consider Privet hedging, whereas for a more natural aesthetic and a slower growth rate, Euonymus Emerald Gold would be a good option.
When pruning or trimming overgrown hedges, the thickest branches should be removed first to help promote better growth. It is best to create a ‘pyramid’ framework on hedges and shrubs to prevent them from experiencing the ill effects of snow and ice from settling on them.
When pruning evergreens, larger, individual stems should be cut off first. Evergreens which have narrow leaves should be pruned when they are young as this will result in controlled growth and improved health. Evergreens with broad leaves do not require much care. They can go many seasons without heavy trimming. If a large amount of old wood is removed it can impair new growth. Aim to do little but often.
When pruning overgrown hedges start from the bottom and make your way up. Overgrown hedges can handle a heavy trim but take care not to sever any of the main branches that feed the top. Manual Shears and hand saws are quite easy to handle and make trimming inner branches a cinch. Use these to remove any particularly thick branches before finishing off the job with a powerful and durable hedge trimmer.
If possible, trim hedges in mid-morning. This is when the dew has evaporated and there is limited moisture in the air. If the hedge is still wet from rain before cutting run a brush along the sides of it. This will brush off all the rainwater from the leaves.
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