The garden is quite large, by modern (mid-70’s build) garden standards, about 60 beech hedges across, (placed roughly 15 inches apart.) And this year I decided that the hedge had become too tall, and in order to reduce the height I had to lop or saw through large stems with which the electric hedge trimmer couldn’t cope, at all. It was hard work, but I’m glad I’ve done it, as I can see out beyond our garden into the fields again. I planted this hedge about 12 years ago and now I want to maintain it at a certain height: to allow me to be able to trim it without the use of ladders.

In addition to that hedge we have at least double that again of more beech hedging, if I take into account the stretch on the boundary of the front garden. In fact much of that length of hedge isn’t mine, but a neighbour’s, but I have always trimmed our side of it, keeping it tight to the fence it hides… and they don’t do their side until later in the year. As the hedge is a good 6 feet deep, I can’t reach the whole way across, and always end up with a straggly bit for a few weeks. It is also tall – I have to stand on the top rung of the ladder in order to be able to reach the top.

Then there’s the yew, surrounding the vegetable plot, which I planted about 17 – 18 years ago, and the box hedging, the pyrocanthus and various other bushes in need of a trim. So, intermittently, I have been busy, my time divided up with other responsibilities, rain, short episodes of laziness and intensive periods of trimming.

Since my last trip to the tip I have filled 2 megabags, 2 green wheelie bins and all my garden tip bags and now have no-where else to keep the trimmings, so I think I need another trip to the tip before I cut any more. Everything has grown so much this year!

This is just some of it.

Unfortunately I can’t get the megabags in the boot.

Author: Sarah

No time to lose. No, time to lose. Make time to stand and stare.... Did you see that?

15 thoughts on “Hedging”

  1. Don’t mention hedges, Nym. 🙂

    Our hedges are only in the front of the property and exceedingly modest by comparison, but they do cause problems. By the side of the house we have a beech hedge which is totally out of control; level with the bedroom window and about six foot thick.

    I’m about to give in and call in an expert. It is probably not something we could manage ourselves-such huge branches and no way have I the appropriate tools.

    The yew hedge at the front is under control, but it has taken a while, several years, to reduce it to about six foot from about twice that height. I agree with you, they have to be ideally at a height that you can manage to trim the top, but we have to do this from both sides because it is exceedingly thick.

    This year’s weather hasn’t helped, they are growing much more rapidly that I can ever recall.

  2. Trying to keep beech hedges at no more than 5′ or less is going to be a dreadful problem, probably kill it off.
    What about getting the kids out there to help out?
    Thank God I don’t have hedges, just trees on the boundary which I leave strictly to their own devices!!
    Now and again the power company come past with a cherry picker and hacks off a few branches, which they chip up with a following lorry, very civilised and free.

  3. Yes, Tina, that is indeed the problem with beech. I don’t think its possible. I’d be happy to reduce mine to twelve, and that might be pushing it a bit!

  4. My beech.. the one I stand on a ladder for is about 10 or 11 feet at a guess, and very healthy.
    The one at the bottom of the garden that I have reduced has been quite happy at about 8 feet and I’ve reduced it to just under 6’… so watch this space 🙂

  5. I was going to say 8′ too. Much less than that and it will all go bald, just a row of sticks!
    8′ isn’t too bad, at least you can reach it with a set of good step ladders with a secure platform. It is when you have to have builder’s frames or ordinary ladders it gets a bit dodgy!
    I agree with Ara, once yours age a bit they are much harder to keep short.

  6. In my RHS book it describes a ‘one side at a time’ method for reducing hedges, so they don’t have too big a shock…

  7. To renovate an overgrown beech hedge, cut it back hard in February while still dormant. If the height needs reducing by 50 percent or more, then stagger pruning over two seasons rather than doing it all at once. If the sides need drastic reduction, then do one side and the top in the first year, leaving the other side to the second year. Mulch and feed after renovation, to encourage regrowth.

  8. I have seen yew taken back almost to the trunk, one side at a time with good results.

    When I reduced the big beech hedge I took the main stem of each plant down about 6-9 inches below the planned finish height, then when the new growth comes in the next season you can take it back to the height you want it at, without going back again to ‘bare wood’.

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