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Hedge cutting, triming and topiary and shaping trees

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Trimming hedges
Hedges may be clipped to a precise shape or left in a natural shape. Formal hedges need clipping during the summer months, and sometimes three or four times a year. To retain a dense hedge, do not allow more than 6in of growth between clippings otherwise it will become straggly and open at the base. Trim a young hedge at an early stage, and continue trimming up to its desired height. A hedge shaped so that it is wider at the bottom than at the top will be more densely clothed with leaves at the base.
Let an informal hedge – or roses or heather for example – grow naturally, and cut it over completely with secateurs once a year after flowering, removing any straggling stems.

Topiary
Topiary is the art of shaping and training a hedge tree or shrub into a formal predetermined shape for visual effect.

Shaping trees
Young trees usually need pruning only to develop or retain their shape. If any shoots appear from the trunk, cut them off cleanly. If necessary, remove any crossed branches, and any that will cause congestion in the centre of the tree. Prune deciduous trees in winter, when they are dormant. Evergreens seldom need pruning, but if they do, mid to late spring is the best time. Once a good framework of branches is built up, pruning in not necessary.

POLLARDING is a method of pruning trees hard back to the main trunk each year or every few years to encourage central, bushy growth.

COPPICING is the cutting back of old branches to ground level to encourage a bushy growth of young stems, and is particularly useful for trees and shrubs with vividly coloured young branches.

See also:
Pruning shrubs and bushes

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