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How to Cut Garden Hedges Safely and Efficiently
by Leona Zoey on May 19, 2014
If you know anything about gardening, you’ll know that you can’t simply dig out a new pond or plant your new annuals in the depth of winter. You need to wait until the sun’s out and the ground has dried out before you do any real gardening work. Thankfully, now that Spring has well and truly sprung, you’re free to don your gloves, pick out your favorite pruning pliers and your best hedge trimmers.
If you’re interested in doing some landscaping work in your garden, the first place that you should start is with the existing hedges. A tidy, well-maintained hedge is essential to the overall appearance of any garden, and you don’t need to enlist the help of a professional as long as you’re safe and have the right tools for the job.
Which Hedge Trimmer Should I Use?
If you’re unsure of which tools to use for the job, you should contact a specialist equipment manufacturer or your local garden center. Hedge trimmers with petrol engines are very powerful and will allow you to move freely while you’re working. The updated versions usually don’t have cables to restrict you, and this also means that you don’t need to run an extension cord from a home power socket. Electric hedge trimmers are best for small or medium-sized gardens, and the motors are usually low-noise, making them perfect for use in noise-sensitive or residential areas. Most electric trimmers are also cordless.
Cutting a Medium-Sized Hedge
Start with the sides of the hedge, and cut vertically in sweeping, arc-shaped movements. If you’re using a hedge trimmer that has double-sided blades, you will also save time as you can cut in both an upwards and a downwards stroke at the same time. Always walk forwards rather than backward as you cut along the length of the hedge. When it comes to cutting the top of the hedge, hold the cutter bar at a slight horizontal angle of around ten degrees. You can remove the clippings with smooth scything movements.
Maintaining Your Hedge Trimmers
To get the best results, you need to look after your tools. The blades on your hedge trimmers need to be kept sharp. Look at the branch tips after cutting. If they appear ragged or light in color, the trimmer blades are blunt and should be taken to an approved dealer or tool center for sharpening. The same is true if the blades snag on the hedge, as this means that they are tearing rather than slicing through the foliage. Remember that the sap will build upon the blades of your hedge trimmer during cutting and that this will dry into a hard glue. The blades should be cleaned regularly to maintain efficiency.
Always wear close-fitting gloves that don’t restrict your freedom of movement while cutting. You should wear a pair of clear goggles to protect your eyes from chips, dust, and other debris.
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