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How To Shape Bushes With Hedge Trimmer

Regular trimming helps bushes grow healthy and keeps your yard looking tidy. If you have never used a hedge trimmer or want to improve your skills, you have come to the right place. We did research to show you how to use this tool to trim and shape your bushes. 

Whether you use a manual or electric hedge trimmer, there are two ways to shape your bushes. You can do a hard trim to remove protruding stems and leaves and shape a bush that has grown out of proportion, or you can do a soft trim on a bush that’s already shaped.

You can do a soft trim by following these steps: 

  1. Start from the bottom and go up
  2. Trim lightly all around the bush
  3. Run a rake through the bush
  4. Remove the fallen leaves or use them as mulch

Keep reading to learn how to trim your bushes using an electric hedge trimmer. Included are ways to operate this tool safely. We have also provided the dos and don'ts of the general use of this tool. In addition, we have provided information on the benefits and the best time to trim bushes. 

Hedge trimmer for bush trimming. Shurb pruning, gardening and cutting concept. Home and garden conceptual, How To Shape Bushes With Hedge Trimmer

How To Shape Bushes Using A Hedge Trimmer

When trimming a bush to shape it, you need to know whether it needs a hard or soft trim. 

Cutting a hedge with electrical hedge trimmer. Selective focus

Hard Trim

Hard trimming involves cutting back as much foliage as possible on a bush with long protruding stems and leaves. Other than looking unsightly, overgrown stems and leaves prevent penetration of sunlight.  

Check out this Cordless hedge trimmer on Amazon.

Watch the video below to see a demonstration of how to hard trim a bush:

Soft Trim

A soft trim is done on bushes with a specific shape, such as round, square, or any other shape that's your favorite. To successfully achieve a neat bush, do the following:

Start From The Bottom And Go Up

Thujas Trees Green Wall Shaping with Gasoline Hedge Trimmer. Caucasian Gardener Trimming Plants Close Up

It’s best to start from the bottom of the bush, trimming upwards. This allows sunlight to reach the bottom for healthier plant growth. 

Trim Lightly All Around The Bush

Your aim should be to trim only a little. Take your trimmer and lay it on the bush without pushing it in too deep. As you follow the shape of the bush, pass the trimmer lightly on the bush, trimming off the top leaves. 

Run A Rake Through The Bush

After trimming the bush, use a rake to remove the top leaves you have trimmed off. This removes all the leaves in the bush. If left inside, they will turn brown, affecting the appeal of your bush. 

Check out this rake on Amazon.

In the process, you might find a few stems sticking out, which you can trim off. 

Remove The Fallen Leaves Or Use Them As Mulch

You can use a blower to blow the leaves away and then gather them up. You can also use the leaves as compost manure. 

The video below demonstrates how to do a soft trim:

Benefits Of Trimming Bushes

Trimming involves removing overgrown leaves or stems that can make a bush grow out of shape. The benefits of trimming include the following:

Growth Of Healthy Plants

To encourage the growth of healthy fruit and flowers, trimming is essential. It prevents the overgrowth of stems that may interfere with the proper growth of fruits and flowers on your bush. 

Maintain The Shape Of The Bush

Regularly trimming the bushes maintains the aesthetics of your yard. That means you can continue enjoying your beautiful yard. 

Helps Keep Areas Clear 

Overgrown bushes can block walking paths, garage entrances, or the view from a window. This can be a nuisance at best or hazardous at worst.

How To Safely Operate An Electric Hedge Trimmer

Hedge trimmer for bush trimming. Shurb pruning, gardening and cutting concept. Home and garden conceptual.

Electric hedge trimmers are used in many households, and it is important to learn how to use them properly. To use this tool safely, use the following tips:

Prep The Area 

Before trimming, wear protective clothing, including gloves, eye goggles, ear protection, closed-toe shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved clothing. 

Next, clear the area of any objects that may obstruct you while you are working. Ensure the cord is out of the way or connected to the power source. 

Hold Trimmer Correctly

You need to hold the hedge trimmer correctly in order to trim without injuring yourself.

Firmly hold the front handle with one hand. Keep your fingers wrapped around the handle and the thumb under the bar. Next, firmly grip the back with the other hand. 

Note that the fingers and thumb must never hold the handle on the same side. Also, ensure your hands are protected by the guard, preventing you from coming into contact with the blade.  

Right Technique For Trimming 

To successfully trim your bushes and get the shape you want without harming yourself, you must use the right technique. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Start trimming from the bottom and go up, trimming off no more than ¾ inch of the thicket. 
  • Hold the handle steadily and work slowly, letting the trimmer move at its own pace. You can hurt yourself or damage the blade if you force it beyond its capacity. 
  • To trim new growth, use a sweeping motion; for older growth with tougher stems, use a sawing motion. 
  • As soon as you complete a cut, release the trigger to prevent wear and tear on the trimmer. 

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how to use an electric hedge trimmer:

What You Should and Shouldn't Do When Using The Trimmer

There are general safety precautions you need to observe when using your trimmer:

  • Don’t attempt to climb a ladder when trimming.
  • Never run while holding the trimmer.
  • Never trim above your shoulders because the trimmer will be hard to control.
  • Always maintain foot balance when trimming.
  • Before trimming another hedge, wait for the blade to stop.
  • Before changing anything on your trimmer, unplug it from the electrical outlet. 

Recommended Time To Trim Bushes

The best time to trim bushes is on a cloudy day. This is to prevent the ends of the cut stems or branches from being burned by the sun.

You can trim your hedges any time of the year. It would be best if you avoided the season when the birds build nests in the bushes. However, it’s fine to trim your hedges at the end of summer or winter.

How To Maintain Your Hedge Trimmer 

Cutting a hedge with electrical hedge trimmer

You want to see a beautiful yard all year round, so it’s important to keep your trimmer in good shape. The following tips can help you.

Clean The Blades Often

Clean the blades after each use. This removes debris that accumulates while trimming the bushes. Also, remember to lubricate the trimmer. This will slow down the wear and tear on the device.

Tighten Loose Screws And Bolts

The vibrations from your trimmer can cause the screws and bolts to jolt out of position. You should inspect your tool and tighten all loose components regularly. This can prevent high repair costs.

Cost Of Repairing A Hedge Trimmer

The cost of maintaining your hedge trimmer is around $50 per year. This includes replacing worn-out parts or sharpening the blades. Sharpening the blade costs between $20 and $40.

If you don’t have a hedge trimmer, you can rent one for $55 a day. Lubricating the trimmer will cost you between $4 to $10 per bottle. 

If you need to buy another hedge trimmer, be prepared to spend between $60 and $200 for electric ones. If your budget is lower, you can buy a manual one at a cost between $15 and $55.

In Closing

Trimming bushes can beautify your yard. You can either hard trim or soft trim a bush. Though there are several types of hedge trimmers, an electric hedge trimmer is the most common tool for this task.

For your safety, there are methods of using this tool that you need to observe, including general dos and don'ts. Also, there are correct techniques for using the trimmer to achieve the shape of the bush you desire.

Maintaining a hedge trimmer is affordable, the main cost being to sharpen the tool. 

Check out our previous posts related to trimming bushes:

Use Chainsaw As Hedge Trimmer

Arborvitae Getting Too Tall Cut Off Top