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hedge trimming
One of the most common questions we get asked at Branching Out Tree and Garden Services is what is the best time of year for pruning hedges? 
 
Hedges provide an attractive boundary, offering both security and privacy, but they do require pruning and trimming every year to maintain their health and appearance. In this blog we aim to give you some general advice on when to tackle the hedges in your garden. 
 
Please note: before you undertake any hedge pruning, you need to be aware of the bird nesting season

What is the difference between pruning and trimming? 

Formative pruning is performed in winter or early spring for the first two to three years after the hedge has been planted. The time for annual pruning depends on the hedge species. If you are unsure of the species, you can follow the general rule of gardening: prune after flowering or fruit. 
 
Pruning is designed to stimulate new growth by removing dead or withering branches. This will allow the flowers or fruits to blossom. Maintenance trimming aims to slow down the growth of the hedge by removing the new shoots. 
 
The recommended RHS advice provided below is for maintenance pruning… 

Evergreens 

Box: two or three times during growing season 
Holly: once in late summer 
Privet: two or three times during growing season 
Richardii: two or three times during growing season 
Cherry laurel: twice during growing season 
Darwin’s barberry: immediately after flowering 
Late cotoneaster: after fruiting 
Escallonia: immediately after flowering 
Lavender: immediately after flowering 
Pyracantha: late summer 

Conifers 

Lawson cypress: twice, in spring and summer 
Leyland cypress (leylandii): twice or three times in growing season 
Yew: twice, in summer and autumn 
Red cedar: spring and again in early autumn 

Deciduous 

Hornbeam: once in mid/late summer 
Hawthorn: twice, summer and autumn 
Beech: once in late summer 
Japanese barberry: Immediately after flowering 
Forsythia: after flowering, remove some older stems 
Fuchsia: in spring, remove old stems 
Rosa rugosa: in spring, remove thin twigs 

Pruning flowering hedges 

To stimulate growth and flowering the following year, you need to prune the hedge once at the right time of year. Prune at the wrong time and you run the risk of not having any flowers the following year. 
 
Hedges that flower on the current season’s growth should be pruned once in spring to stimulate flowers to bloom later that year. Some varieties flower on year-old growth, so prune the current season’s growth by half in summer. 
 
For hedges that produce berries, delay any pruning until the berries have gone. 

For more information 

Branching Out Tree and Garden Services has qualified tree surgeons who cover the North Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire area. If you require professional help and advice, contact us today. 
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