Finding the perfect time to trim your hedge

Hedges are a popular choice among homeowners and garden enthusiasts. They not only provide a natural boundary for properties but also offer privacy from prying eyes. However, like all plants, hedges require care and maintenance to ensure they remain healthy and aesthetically pleasing. One of the most crucial aspects of hedge maintenance is trimming, and doing it at the right time can make all the difference.

cutting hedges

Why trim your hedge?

Hedges, while low-maintenance compared to other garden plants, still require regular trimming. This not only helps in maintaining their shape and size but also promotes healthy growth. Regular trimming ensures that sunlight reaches all parts of the hedge, which is essential for its health and vitality.

Understanding hedge growth cycles

Most hedges are made up of shrubs planted side by side. These shrubs typically have two growth spurts in a year: one at the start of spring and another at the end of summer or early autumn, depending on the species. It’s essential to trim post these growth periods to maintain the hedge’s initial shape and size.

So, when is the best time to trim?

Practically speaking, the ideal times to trim your hedge are during the winter months, specifically before mid-March, or at the end of September to early October. It’s crucial to avoid trimming from mid-March to the end of July. This period is when the last of the baby birds are leaving their nests, and trimming can disturb this natural process.

Winter trimming tips:

– Avoid trimming during frosty periods. Frost can harm freshly cut hedges, making it difficult for them to recover.
– It’s best to trim at the very start of winter, before the first frost sets in, or towards the end, as the weather starts to warm up.

Summer trimming:

While winter is the preferred season for most, summer trimming is also possible under specific conditions:

– Ensure the temperature is below 25 degrees Celsius. Trimming in higher temperatures can stress the plant.
– Avoid trimming during prolonged dry spells as the shrub is more vulnerable during such times.

Regardless of the season, it’s always best to trim in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are milder.

General trimming tips:

– Always use sharp tools for trimming. Dull tools can damage the hedge and hinder its growth.
– Trim the hedge so that the top is narrower than the base. This shape ensures that sunlight reaches the lower parts of the hedge.
– Don’t be afraid to trim aggressively if the hedge has become too overgrown. However, ensure you don’t cut more than a third of the hedge at once.


Trimming your hedge at the right time can significantly impact its health and appearance. By understanding the growth cycles and following the tips mentioned, you can ensure your hedge remains a beautiful and vital part of your garden.