How to cut a hedge?
Although this question seems to be easy to answer, deep knowledge is needed, as well. This begins with the shape and the time of the cut. What is principly to consider is described in the following below. Which are the tricks an tips in order to obtain a properly trimmed hedge, we will explain in another article. This text, first of all, copes with the hidden knowledge about hedge-trimming.
The classic hedge is of course rectangular and geometric. Looks averagely good, but is unnatural. It is probably connected with the given property boundaries that hardly anyone gets the idea to give hedge a curved shape. In fact, it looks a lot better and is much easier to perform. You have to follow no lines and no rules, dimensions or directions, so you can't make any mistakes. To cut a hedge explicitely different is just our suggestion as experienced gardeners.. However, we limit ourselves in this article only onto the geometric shape, as it is the norm.
In fact, it is rare to see a properly trimmed hedge ... most hedges are "top-heavy". I.e. wider at the top than at the bottom. But following the logic of a plant this is absolutely false, because the wider, upper part shades the lower, smaller part. Most plants only drive new shoots, if there is sufficient light. The basis of a top-heavy hedge gets automatically overshadowed - not much, but with every single day the effect increases, so that the lower part grows slower or even produces holes. The top will thatswhy get more and more dense and thicker. Especially in older conifer hedges this error is difficult to correct, as they are completely bare inside. Nothing grows inside! If you cut it vertically again, it creates an ugly hole right down the whole length. In deciduous hedges this is not a problem, because they will grow again in the next vegetal period. For conifers such as thuja or false cypress, it will last at least 3 years until the hole is green again.
So before to get started with the hedge trimming, you must know what type hedge it is!
To avoid this effect, it is to ensure from the beginning that the sides of a hedge are "at least" cut perpendicular. Of course it is better to cut it in a light angle, so that the lower part is slightly wider than the upper part. Additionally you should cut down the top of the hedge as deep as possible, for that light comes inside the hedge again. Only then new green is formed in the inner and the hedge remains tight. This effect can be increased by 'breaking' the edges. That means that the right-angled form at the top of the hedge gets rounded. The result is a more evenly growth, because as the light intput is even greater.
For the most hedges it is enough to cut it twice a year. In spring and in autumn. Now there is the question when it is the best time for a more radical cut of a hedge. The answer is; in the course of the spring. Because this ist the most powerful vegetal phase, so that the hedge is completely green again, after about two or three weeks. Evergreen hedges should only be pruned moderately in the fall so that no holes will appear. The growth period has endet then, so that you would otherwise look at a poor skeleton the whole winter long.
A 'nice' bad example you can see in this article about a privet hedge. The photos here were taken in late October after a garden colonne massacred these hedge. Since evergreen privet continuously loses a few leaves, it looked awful for months and was getting worse.
Garten trick :
The common privet [ Ligustrum vulgare ] is not winter green!
The oval-leaved privet [ Ligustrum ovalifolium ] loses its leaves only in hard winters .
The black-green privet [ Ligustrum vulgare atrovirens ] is evergreen. Its foliage turns reddish brown in sub-zero temperatures.
Garten trick :
All hedges, particularly yew, you should not cut in the heat of the summer. It is possible then, that the leaf tips or needles are getting brown. As a countermeasure you can water abundantly after the cut.