Are you owning a big house with a beautiful landscape? Do you have bush berries there? How easy do you find it to keep your hedges in shape? Definitely, not an interesting thing to answer. Every job has a rule, and if you work accordingly, things get a lot more fun and easier. The same goes with shaping the hedges too.
Decades ago, people used to do all this stuff with scissors. Yes, you heard it right. But thank god, we now have hedge trimmers, manual hedge shears, loppers, and many more. This equipment makes the job a lot easier. But it would help if you had a useful guide to follow to nail it.
Let me show you how…
How to Keep Your Hedges in Shape?
Shaping_ Cutting the hedges in your desired shape may seem close to impossible at first. But you can maneuver the skill with a little practice and time. So let’s follow the ultimate guide…
Do you know when it is best to do the trimming? If you trim your hedges whenever you feel like them, you’re doing it wrong. Late winter is the best time to do the trimming as plants are yet to produce buds. You can go for heavy trimming this time. There’s a long time remaining till the budding starts, so your hedges get time to grow decently.
Collect the equipment you’re going to need while shaping the hedges. For example, you may need a hedge trimmer, hand shears, wooden stakes, string, etc. These will help you make things done like a pro. Also, make sure you’re preparing the equipment for the session, such as sharpening the hedger blade, loading gas and oil, so you don’t have to stop midway.
Spread a Tarp
It feels such a satisfactory and great relief once you’re done with the trimming and pruning. But it leaves your yard in a total mess with the clippings that fall while doing the procedure. Maybe this is the most annoying thing to do while pruning.
But laying down a tarp would solve the problem two-thirds, if not fully. All you’ll be left with is cleaning the tarp and some debris that fell out of the tarp during the trimming session. If you don’t have a tarp, any sheet should do the job pretty nicely. Use rocks to hold the tarp down in place.
Plan Out Things
Planning is important. No matter how many times you did trimmings before, you have to plan things each time. From deciding the shape to when to start the session, everything needs to be decided before starting. Planning brings perfection, I believe.
As for the shape, boxy, flat, or round.. pick any of them and proceed accordingly. There are some other shapes too, such as elephant-shaped, bird-shaped bushes, etc. You may try doing them but make sure you collect a little idea on it before trying.
Fix a Straight Line
Now that you planned the shape already, get wooden stakes and string, which some professionals use as a guide while shaping bushes or shrubs. Avoid fixing the string too low and set it along with the hedges. Once you do this step decently, your shape should come out better than your expectation.
Why do you shape your bushes? To make people fall for your landscape? Never!
The bushier your bushes are, the better chance for fungus to attack your lovely, beautiful plants. This is why shaping is so important.
Exactly how you’re going to shape your plants totally depends on your desired shape. Some people loves casual straight edge or boxy shape while others love fancy looking shapes like animal shapes or object shapes.
The former ones are easier to do for beginners, and you can nail it really fast. So let’s learn to make a few simple shapes in some easy steps….
Straight edge hedges have very beautiful straight sides with a straight top. This is also known as a formal hedge and is more common in houses to work as boundaries. Though it’s very common everywhere, it’s still the first choice for property owners all around the globe.
The most important thing to cut a straight edge hedge is to take measures and set stakes accurately. If you make a mistake at this part, then you’d go wrong everywhere. Otherwise, it’s really easy to cut shrubs straight from the sides, back, and top.
As for the smaller hedges, you don’t even need to apply that string method. Just make sure you’re checking in intervals if the shape is going straight.
On the other hand, larger hedges need a little extra effort to make the perfect shape out of them. The string method is to be applied here. Very easy and very accurate. Just hammer two stakes at two ends and tie a string tightly in them. Well, the stakes have to be straight to each other. Set the string at the top of the hedges, then trim the extra hedges coming out of the line.
It’s a kind of straight edge shrub shape. The difference is that the top of this design goes up and down, which resembles waves. First of all, trim off the sides with the help of, again, stakes and string-like straight-edge hedges.
Now comes the unique part, which is the wavy top. It’s not easy to cut the waves with only your eyes. You may want to fix some stakes throughout the whole length of the bushes. The distance from one stake to another has to be the same among all.
Start to trim off the foliage by keeping an eye on the stakes. You can decrease the distance between each stake to make the waves smaller and higher or increase the distance when you want bigger and lower waves.
This type of hedge is quite fancy-looking yet easy to shape. Once you’ve put in the effort, it’s worth every bit of it. The top of this hedge style has a box shape separated from the straight edge part below. It would be best if you had a few bamboo canes, string, and tape measure.
So the first job is to measure the shrub. Hammer the bamboo canes to the ground alongside the hedges, and the distance from one to another has to be 12 inches. Then measure 10 inches from top to bottom of the hedges and mark it on the bamboo canes. Finally, take a marker pen. Take the string to tie every cane on where you want to make the cutouts.
Take a cut vertically from top to the marked line on the first two canes. Now cut horizontally between the two canes to form a box shape. Next, leave the third cane and move to the fourth and fifth cane; apply the same process. Repeat this until you’ve reached the last cane. Don’t forget to cut every six weeks; otherwise, the shape is going to fade out.
Apart from geometrical shapes, there are fanciful shapes that many house owners love to have hedges shaped like animals or abstract structures. Maybe you have already seen some of these shrubs in parks or any beautiful resort. But how easy is it to shape shrubs or bushes in animal structures?
It’s never an easy task at all. But a metal mesh designed like your desired shape will make things easier. Suppose you’ve decided to shape hedges like an elephant. So you’ve got to turn a metal mesh into an elephant. Now hold this elephant shape on your shrub and cut off the extra foliage coming out of this metal shape.
For the first few months, the shapes won’t look clean. Gradually these shapes will look more defined with the next trimming sessions.
Rounded-shaped hedges look very posh, and this topiary can make anybody fall for your landscape immediately.
To cut around the hedge, you should leave 3 inches at the top then start from that place. Hold your hedge trimmer, start to trim while moving around the shrub. Make sure you’re using a wireless hedge trimmer to avoid an accident.
Maintaining a Hedge Shape
A shaped hedge also needs a lot of care to stay healthy and happy. You have to fertilize and water them regularly, so the leaves don’t fall out or look sad.
Check out for any diseased leaves or fungus attacks and pick them out. Keep giving small trims every few weeks. Your shrubs shouldn’t be kept in a shaded place for a long time.
Shaping and maintaining are almost the same jobs. You need to keep shaping if you want it to remain the same forever. Once you made the shaping, the next trimming sessions are easier to do.
Make sure you’re wearing protective gear to avoid any cuts in your body. Be extra sweet to the bucket/top plants as they need extra care. Choose the trimming time according to the plants as all plants are different individually and need different maintenance.