Hedges are natural plants that help you create an attractive barrier around your home. Since hedge plants grow rapidly, you need to trim them from time to time to attain the perfect shape.
A hedge trimmer is a machine that prunes hedges. It also makes it a lot easier for you to shape your hedges. Unlike other hedge trimming tools, a hedge trimmer also saves you time as you cut hedges.
If you recently bought a hedge trimmer, you must know how to use it safely and properly.
This guide explains the best methods for using a hedge trimmer and safety tips, and other important info you need to know.
What’s the Difference Between a Hedge Trimmer and a Hedge Cutter?
While these tools might look alike, they are two different tools that are used to perform different tasks. As the name sounds, a hedge trimmer is used to trim overgrown growth on your hedges and is suitable for light work. On the other hand, a hedge cutter is mostly used in intensive and heavy-duty tasks like cutting thick bushes.
What You May Need
Before you start using your hedge trimmer, there are various tools you will need when using a hedge trimmer:
- Safety gear such as gloves and goggles
- Lubricant oil
- A string
- An extension cable
Step by Step Guide to Using a Hedge Trimmer
When you have everything prepared, you are now ready to use your hedge trimmer. But before you start using it, check first if your head trimmer is sharp. Once everything is in place, you are good to go!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making sure you are using it correctly:
Step 1: Determine the Shape of Your Hedge and the Area That You Want to Work On
The first thing you need to do is determine how you are going to shape your hedge. Hedges can have different designs based on their purposes and uses.
If you plan to trim a fence, you have to trim the sides evenly to get even surfaces. Moreover, the sides of a fence should be sloping so that the bottom-most leaves can receive adequate sunshine.
Step 2: Wear Some Safety Gear for Maximum Protection
Safety gear reduces the risk of injuries and protects you as you are trimming your hedges. Remember, hedge trimmer blades can be quite dangerous.
Safety gear that you should wear includes safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, and safety boots. Safety goggles will protect you from debris that might fly into your eye as you are trimming. If your trimmer is loud, you can wear a pair of earbuds or ear defenders to reduce the amount of noise that your ear can detect. You should also wear a helmet or face shield that protects your face.
Step 3: Lay a Tarp on the Base of the Hedge
Before you start this step, you should get rid of all the objects and obstructions that might get in your way as you are trimming your hedges. Moreover, clear the space that you want to lay the tarp on. For example, you can get rid of the toys and garden furniture that may be around that area, so you don’t have to keep stopping to clear your path.
Since hedge trimmings can make your lawn look untidy, you should lay a tarp on the base of your hedge. A tarp also makes it easier for you to dispose of trimmings when you finish pruning your hedge.
Step 4: Lubricate the Trimmer Blade
The next thing that you need to do is to lubricate the blades of the hedge trimmer. The oil minimizes the friction between the blades, making it easier for you to cut the hedges. Lay your hedge trimmer on the tarp and lubricate the blades with some oil. If you do it on your lawn, the oil might affect the grass.
Also, remember to read the user’s manual. You might find some insightful information about the oil that you should be using for your hedge trimmer.
Step 5: Start the Hedge Trimmer
Grip the handles of the hedge trimmer with your hands and start it. Hedge trimmers have different designs and are powered by different energy sources. For instance, some hedge trimmers are powered by batteries while others are powered by petrol. Due to this, hedge trimmers might have different starting mechanisms.
The good thing is, most models come with an instruction manual that gives you some insight on how you can start your trimmer.
Now, if you are using a corded hedge trimmer machine, you have to connect it to a power source to start it. If it doesn’t have a long power cord, you can use an extension cord to maximize your movements.
On the other hand, if you are using a cordless hedge trimmer, you have to make sure it is fully charged before using it. The same applies to a petrol-powered hedge trimmer machine; you have to fill the tank with some fuel.
Step 6: Trim the Overgrown Branches and Shrubs on the Bottom Part of the Hedge
Start by trimming the branches and the overgrown shrubs found on the bottom part of your hedge. It would help if you used little force while trimming long branches. If you use too much force, you might overcut the hedge surface, making it uneven. Make sure that you grip the handle firmly.
Step 7: Cut the Sides of the Hedges
You have to be quite keen while cutting the sides of your hedge fence. The sides have to be trimmed at a certain angle so that the leaves at the bottom part of the hedge can receive enough sunlight.
Use an arch-sweeping motion to cut some of the overgrown branches that might be protruding from the hedge.
To get a perfect angle on the top part of your hedge fence, you have to trim it at an angle of 10 degrees. Tilt your hedge trimmer machine slightly, then cut the overgrown branches on the top part of the side of your fence.
Step 8: Trim the Top Part of the Hedge
The top part of your fence should have an even surface.
Hold your hedge trimmer in a horizontal position, then move it along your hedge. It would help if you were quite keen as you are trimming the top part of your hedge fence. Don’t exert too much pressure on the surface of the hedge.
Pro Tip: You can use a piece of string as a guideline when trimming the top of your hedge to keep it even.
Once you finish trimming your hedge, you have to check whether it has an even surface or not. If it has some bumps, use the blades of the hedge trimmer to cut the bumps.
Different Types of Hedge Trimmers
Just like other power tools, hedge trimmers are available in different designs and different sizes. They can be categorized into electric hedge trimmers and gas-powered hedge trimmers. Here are the different types of hedge trimmers that can help you trim your hedges:
Corded Hedge Trimmers
As the name hints, a corded hedge trimmer has a power cord that transfers electric current to the main unit of the hedge cutter. This type can be categorized as an electric hedge trimmer since electric current power.
Gas Hedge Trimmers
This type of hedge trimmer is powered by petrol fuel. Gas-powered hedge trimmers are quite powerful and efficient in trimming different hedges.
Cordless Hedge Trimmers
Cordless hedge trimmers come with a battery that powers the whole unit. They are lightweight and let you move as you are trimming your hedges. They are sometimes not as powerful as the other options, and you will have to charge the battery frequently.
Safety Tips That You Should Keep In Mind While Using a Hedge Trimmer
These are some of the safety tips that you should keep in mind while using a hedge trimmer:
- Hold the hedge trimmer tightly with your two hands.
- Always wear safety gear while cutting overgrown growth on your hedges.
- Do not use the hedge trimmer close to other people. Always keep a distance of about 40 feet from the person who is next to you.
- Wear appropriate clothes while using a hedge trimmer—long-sleeved T-shirts and shirts.
- Get rid of any equipment that might make you trip as you are cutting overgrown growth. Keep an eye on your power cord. A long cord might get in your way as you are working.
Practice With a Hedge Trimmer
My wife’s not on twitter so this is the only safe place to say this but I just borrowed a hedgetrimmer for the first time and absolutely fucked up my wife’s pride and joy jasmine bush. She won’t see it till tomorrow now but I am proper scared. pic.twitter.com/DtRuQ5vbkM
— Josh Howie (@joshxhowie) July 18, 2020
As you can see, cutting a hedge with a hedge trimmer is not as complicated as it sounds. As time passes by, your skills will improve. You will be able to cut surfaces evenly without breaking a sweat! To achieve that, you have to practice first. If you follow the steps that have been given here, you will be able to trim your hedge easily!
Be Wise and Be Careful
Once you have learned how to use a hedge trimmer, you can trim overgrown growth that makes your hedge look unkempt. It is available in different designs. So, make sure you are familiar with each of them to find the one you are most comfortable with.
Remember, be cautious when trimming your hedges. Wear safety gear and the right type of clothing to prevent any injuries. Most importantly, read your instruction manual before starting your hedge maintenance and familiarise yourself with the controls and safety features. You must remain aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents.
If you follow these handy tricks, you will have great-looking hedges in no time!
Did you find this article helpful? Do you have other tips and tricks you’d like to share on how to use a hedge trimmer? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comment section below!
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Ian loves everything that revolves around the home improvement niche. He loves trying out new home appliances. He has also handled a lot of equipment and has a lot of insight. Plus, he’s worked on various home improvement projects that became a success. If Ian isn’t busy working on his latest project, you can find him reading up about another one!