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