Shrubs & Hedges: A Guide for Taking the Trimmer in Your Own Hands

You step outside, take a look around, and sigh.

Your landscape is beautiful, but those hedges, shrubs, bushes, and trees are growing like, well, like weeds (as much as you hate to say it). As happy as you are with your landscape’s development and progress, the ever-continuous battle of trimming, hedging, and pruning is weighing in on you. For most folks, it’s unrealistic to call in a professional landscape team every time the hedges get a little overgrown.

We don’t mean that you should avoid landscaping teams at all costs.

 As a landscaping company who has a premium Gardening program for these sorts of situations, we’re always happy to help. However, we understand that working with a professional landscaping team might not make sense for every situation, so it’s useful to understand how to tackle these tasks yourself as well.

We’ve laid out a few of our tried-and-true tips and tricks below that can help you get a better handle on pruning, trimming, and hedging. From tools you should consider, to time of year, to strategy, this guide should benefit you in your trimming choices. Now, you’ll be better able to figure out when you can handle a little trimming or when it’s time to call in the professionals for bigger jobs.

Enjoy the trimming guide below!

When You Should Take Matters into Your Own Hands

Hedges, shrubs, and bushes are some of the most underrated plant life you can have on your lawn, residential property, or commercial landscape. When properly maintained, they can give depth, texture, and amazing color to your landscape’s overall design. The issue? Most people don’t understand when – or how, for that matter — to take care of trimming or hedging these types of plants.

The answer? Seasonally, but don’t be afraid to make a well-thought-out cut here and there, either.

Sure, there are specific seasons when you should focus on trimming or hedging certain plants. For example, trim early-spring flower shrubs right after the bloom. You should also clip summer-flowering plants in early spring (or even in the Winter – we can get away with this in Florida). Non-flowering plants should be trimmed after new growth have completely formed. When it comes to hedges, they should be pruned or trimmed in the later winter months when the plant is more dormant (this is so that you can encourage new growth where you want it). Make sure you don’t trim hedges while the new growth is succulent. Mostly, you’ll want to ensure hat you’re not over-pruning at the wrong time of the year and cutting off flower or flower buds and eliminating their return.

But that doesn’t mean those are the only times you should trim.

Keep an eye on all your landscape features to see how they’re doing. Notice they’re out of line? Grab the trimmer! Don’t be afraid to shape, trim, cut, et. Cetera – the point of having these plants on your property is to enhance your landscape. Letting them grow wildly because you’re afraid to shape and trim is going to defeat the purpose entirely!

Consider the Type of Trimming, Hedging, or Cutting You’re Doing

Trimming your hedges, bushes, and shrubs doesn’t have to be a nightmare – in fact, when you break it down, it’s really rather easy. But that doesn’t mean that you can just take a pair of shears to every plant and expect them to grow back as you want. There are definitely specific factors to consider for each type of plant you plan to hedge, trim, prune, or cut.

Our biggest advice is to take a look at the type of flora or fauna you plan to trim up and do you research. Make sure you’re trimming at the right time (if you’re planning to do an entire revamp of the plant), make sure you have the right tools, and make sure that you’re up-to-speed on the techniques specific to the procedure for the plant. In other words, while it can be easy to take care of these types of procedures by yourself, you always want to make sure you’re doing it correctly.

There are a few hedging and trimming mistakes you can make, though, so watch out that you’re keeping clear of common mistakes like undergoing major pruning during the wrong time of year, trying to maintain shrubs that are too tall for their space (or too wide, for that matter), not shaping a hedge to be narrower at the top (we’ll get back to this soon), or shearing your hedges straight away with giving them a good hand-prune.

Technique and Tools

The biggest considerations for trimming and hedging are both  the techniques and tools you’ll need to get the job done. Once you’ve done the research on the types of plants you’ll be taking care of, you can do even more research on how to trim and what to trim them with.

For example, if you’re planning to trim hedges, do your research on tools like cordless trimmers, corded electric trimmers, and gas-powered trimmers. Find out which will cut the branches quickly and cleanly, which will best protect the environment, which makes the most sense for your budget, and which is the safest tool for you to use!

Other tools you’ll definitely need? Protective tools, of course! Don’t skimp out on protective goggles, gloves, and extended reach tools to help you with taller hedges and shrubs.

Further, you’ll want to consider the types of techniques that are specific to the plants and tools you have in your inventory. For example, when it comes to hedges, always make sure you’re trimming the sides of the hedge at an angle so that it’s narrower at the top than it is at the bottom. This allows sunlight to reach the root and lower branch systems, giving the hedge a better change to regrow healthier. Further, if you haven’t pruned or trimmed a hedge in a while, you might want hand prune them before you take shears to them to help encourage new growth and a healthier shrub, overall.

No matter what type of trimming you plan to do, ensure you’re doing research beforehand to have the type of technique, as well as the tools you’ll need, all figured out beforehand.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call in the Big Guns

While it’s usually a good idea to take matters into your own hands, there will be situations where it’s best to call in the professionals to handle your pruning, trimming, and hedging situations. For example, if it’s a total, seasonal overhaul for your landscape, it might be less overwhelming for a professional team to come in and take care of the entire hedging and trimming process. Further, if you need large, bulky trees trimmed, pruned, thinned, or raised, it’s usually a good idea to have a professional team come in to handle this, too. It’s important to realize that while you’re capable of learning how to handle these sorts of processes, sometimes, calling in a team who has the equipment, know-how, and decades-worth of experience can help to ensure you’re getting the job done right!


Was our ultimate guide helpful for your trimming endeavors? Do you feel like the master of your own bushes and hedges? If we even helped a little, we feel glad to be of service. That being said, if you have more questions about trimming, want to talk trimming with landscape professionals, or simply want to get a free quote on what it would cost to have us take care of the trimming or hedging for you, just give us a call at (727)-201-3947. More interested in some regular landscaping inspo? Check out our blog for weekly updates on the latest and greatest trends in the landscaping world, helpful tips and tricks (like this article), and more!