Trimming a hedge isn’t always just a matter of creating a straight line. Joshuas Gardening offers practical advice on how to sharpen up your act and create some enviable shapes and long-lasting structure in your garden.

Cutting hedges

  • The type of hedging plants, and the style of your garden, will dictate how and when to cut it. Informal, flowering hedges, such as Escallonia and Viburnum Tinus, are the easiest to look after but have an untidy profile.
  • Leggy growth should be cut back after the plant has flowered to maintain the shape of the hedge, but remove shoots with secateurs and not shears as this avoids the problem of clipped leaves rotting.
  • Formal hedges need to be closely trimmed to keep a crisp outline.
  • Low-growing box hedges can be cut with vertical sides, but hedges over 30cm tall should be tapered slightly towards the top to allow light to reach the bottom of the hedge and prevent the base developing bare patches.