Whether you are looking to maintain elaborate topiary or have miles of tall hedges to cut, there is a hedge trimmer to suit your requirements.
If the job is too big or time consuming for shears then it probably is better to use a mechanical or electrical device designed specifically for the job. This will not only save you time but if you are trimming large areas, it will probably give you a more even cut.
Don’t be tempted to buy a machine based on price as it will undoubtedly wear out sooner or possibly break if you try and force it to cut more than it is capable of. It is far better to buy a hedge cutter that will last longer and is better suited to the jobs you have on mind for it.
Smaller shrubs and hedges can be regularly trimmed with a set of clippers, these are usually mains or battery powered and can often be held in one hand. These smaller trimmers are perfect for keeping topiary in shape as they are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, or, if you prefer to keep smaller hedges, such as low growing buxus, then a quick “once over” with these will keep them in good shape weekly or fortnightly.
These are again usually powered by mains electric or batteries. Although smaller petrol hedge trimmers are also available. A medium sized hedge trimmer will have a blade length of 35 – 45 cm (14 – 18”) and a tooth gap of 15 – 16 mm ( 2/3” ) which means it will easily tackle most small to medium hedges and the growth they will put on over a three to four week period, depending on the type of hedge you have.
With longer blade length and a larger cutting capacity – often up to 34mm (1.5”), petrol hedge trimmers are often the choice of the professional and owners of larger gardens. The petrol engines are capable of being used over long periods of time and will tackle larger hedges and smaller branches that can grow on some of the more vigorous conifers too. The motors are usually two stroke petrol, so you will need to get the appropriate oil and a mixing bottle too, but this type of engine doesn’t need lubricant oil in the engine which makes it easier to run.
Sometimes, hedges are just too tall to be able to cut them completely from the ground; this means the use of ladders, platforms and an awful lot of extra work. With the introduction of hedge trimmers that have the blades at the end of a long pole, the need for extra equipment has been greatly reduced. Many will safely cut hedges up to 3m (10’) tall and they also have heads that can be angled from 0 – 90 degrees so that the tops of these hedges can also be trimmed. These types of hedge cutter are particularly useful on sloped or uneven ground where using ladders can be tricky.
It is always better to do a little research before buying your hedge trimmer, weigh up your options on the power source and the frequency/size of the hedge trimming intended. It is also very important to wear protective safety gear, especially eye protection, small clippings can fly about when you are cutting and could do some serious damage, better to be prepared than end up in A&E!