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Trimming hedges

Trimming is the job of cutting your hedge regularly to encourage strong growth for a full, dense, hedge. Trimming maintains shape and keeps the hedge at a manageable height and width.

In this section, there is general information on how you can make trimming hedges easier, and details of some tools that you might find helpful.

There is additional information on trimming hedges: sitting down and from a wheelchair; with sight loss; with a weak grip; with one hand; if you can't bend easily

Top tips to make trimming hedges easier

  • Use one handed battery powered shears to trim hedges and secateurs or lightweight loppers to trim thicker stems. One handed shears are also useful for trimming smaller hedges.
  • Don't try to cut material that is too thick with shears - carry secateurs to cut through any thick stems. 
  • Keep shears and other cutting tools sharp, clean and well oiled and adjusted.
  • Have a barrow or plastic sheet positioned beneath where you are cutting to catch most of the trimmings.
  • One handed shears
    Avoid very fast-growing species and keep the hedge to a height that is easy to reach. 
  • If you find cutting the hedge difficult, an alternative such as a wall or fence - with climbing plants - can be wildlife-friendly, attractive options.
  • Depending on the size of your hedge, this is a job that you might decide to get regular help with.     

Taking care

  • Always ‘warm up’ with a few gentle stretches, keep your back straight and only work for short periods, to avoid strain.
  • Try to keep the one handed shears close to your body and hold them just below chest height. Only trim within your reach to avoid straining and losing your balance.
  • Tackle a section of the hedge at a time to avoid getting over tired.
  • Reaching up to the top of a hedge or shrub can put extra strain on the neck, arms and back. Be careful if you use steps or ladders to reach a taller hedge as it is easy to lose your balance.  

Equipment and tools

In this section, there is general information on equipment and tools for trimming hedges, and a few examples that you might find helpful.

You can see the full range of tools, and search for equipment and tools which are easier for people with a specific disability to use, in Equipment and tools to help you

  • Topiary shears
    One-handed battery powered shears are ideal for trimming soft foliage and for light hedge trimming. The blades can be rotated through 180° for a more comfortable cutting position.
  • Super sharp shears, with shorter blades and long handles, are lighter and suitable for more delicate trimming.
  • For light trimming jobs you can use one-handed shears.

Adjustable shears  

Adjustable shears

The comfortable padded grip makes these quality shears easy to use with one hand.

Find out more about Adjustable shears

Super sharp shears  

Super sharp shears

For use with two hands, these light shears have short blades and long handles. Good for trimming topiary and small hedges.

Find out more about Super sharp shears

Battery powered hand-held shears  

Battery powered hand-held shears

These shears can be used for trimming hedges and the blades rotate from the horizontal to vertical. There is a long hedge trimming blade for use on larger plants.

Find out more about Battery powered hand-held shears

Lighter telescopic battery powered hedge trimmer  

Lighter telescopic battery powered hedge trimmer

Ideal for small to medium size hedges, this model has a telescopic handle for trimming higher up or when you garden sitting down.

Find out more about Lighter telescopic battery powered hedge trimmer