We’ve had over 15 years of trimming and topping Sussex hedges of all shapes and sizes all over Sussex and the surrounding areas.
We have the knowledge to carefully trim a formal box hedge in a country cottage garden or top out 70ft Leylandii hedge. Arbor Cura tree surgery has the experience, the expertise and the equipment to get all manner of hedge maintenance projects done safely and efficiently to your exact specifications.
Most garden hedges will require at least one trim per year in order to maintain them in a manageable condition, but this may need to be increased to two or even three times a year depending on the plant species and your requirements of the hedge.
When to trim hedges
If your primary concern in protecting our native wildlife then hedge trimming is best left until late autumn and winter, but preferably January and February. In most cases birds wont be nesting during this period and it gives birds and other animals time to eat the nuts and berries that were produced by the hedge plants earlier in the year. It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. For more detailed information see this page on the RSPB website.
Formal hedge trimming
To keep a hedge looking very formal and tidy it will be necessary to trim it at least twice a year during the growing season. For a really tight and tidy formal hedge this should be done every four to six weeks. This is all the more important if the plant species is one that can’t be trimmed back hard into the woody stems like Leyland Cypress (Leylandii) or Lawson Cypress. If you neglect to trim these species of hedging plant, and others, on a regular basis they will soon become too big to keep as a formal hedge and will require drastic and expensive corrective hedge surgery work.
Our experienced arborists will be able to identify the plant species for you to ensure the correct timing and extent of the hedge work required. As a rough guide here are some common hedging plants with their tolerance to heavy pruning. If heavy pruning is not an option then more regular trimming will be necessary:
Beech (Fagus sylvatica): Tolerates relatively hard pruning.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) Tolerates very hard pruning).
Box (Buxus sempervirens): Tolerates relatively hard pruning.
Elaeagnus: Tolerates very hard pruning.
Euonymus: Tolerates very hard pruning.
Griselinia: Tolerates hard pruning.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna): Tolerates very hard pruning.
Holly (Ilex aquifolium): Tolerates hard pruning.
Holm Oak (Quercus ilex): Tolerates hard pruning.
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus): Tolerates hard pruning.
Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus): Tolerates very hard pruning.
Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana): As a hedging plant it does not tolerate hard pruning.
Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa): As a hedging plant it does not tolerate hard pruning.
Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica): Tolerates hard pruning.
Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium): Tolerates hard pruning.
Pyracantha: Tolerates very hard pruning.
Western Red Cedar (Thuja species): Tolerates relatively hard pruning (on of the few coniferous tree species that does).
Yew (Taxus baccata): Tolerates relatively hard pruning.
By reducing the number of annual cuts you can keep a hedge in check but still enjoy the flower, fruit and autumn colour that the species provide. Pruning or trimming will be very species dependant but here is a rough guide:
Berberis darwinii: Immediately after flowering
Cotoneaster lacteus: After fruiting
Escallonia: Immediately after flowering
Lavandula (lavender): Immediately after flowering
Pittosporum: Late summer
Pyracantha: Late summer
Berberis thunbergii: Immediately after flowering
Forsythia: After flowering, remove some older stems
Fuchsia magellanica: In spring, remove old stems
Rosa rugosa: In spring, remove thin twigs
Hedge maintenance tips
- Prune those plants that flower on the current season’s growth, like as Fuchsia, once in spring, as they will still be able to produce flowers that year.
- For plants that flower on one-year-old growth like Pittosporum, reduce the current season’s growth by half in summer.
- In the case of shrubs that produce berries, such as Cotoneaster and Pyracantha, delay trimming until the berries disappear.