Hedging your bets when the shears come out

When is the right time to prune and how much should you trim back?

When is the right time to prune and how much should you trim back?

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When to prune hedges? That is the question. Whether it is better to read the books and browse the internet for help or to take up the shears and just do the job.

Newish deciduous hedges are best tackled right now, in winter; after a couple of years they can be trimmed in summer.

Remember it is an offence to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird – usually from March until the end of July.

A few of the most popular forms of evergreen hedging are:

• Buxus sempervirens (box): A light trim twice or three times during the growing season should suffice.

• Ilex aquifolium (holly): Prune just once in late summer.

• Ligustrum (privet): Twice or three times during growing season.

• Lonicera nitida (shrubby honeysuckle): Twice or three times in growing season.

• Prunus laurocerasus: Twice during growing season. (It’s best not to tackle conifers after August, or you risk browning foliage.)

• Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Lawson cypress): Twice, in spring and summer.

• Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress): Twice or three times in the growing season.

• Taxus baccata (yew): Twice, in summer and autumn.

• Thuja plicata: In spring and again in early autumn.

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