In-detail Guide on How to Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely and Effectively

Nora Held
Nora Held
Research Writer
Apart from being our main writer, Nora also works for a number of gardening-related sites and magazines, sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm in North Carolina read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of read more
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A well-tended garden is a lovely sight to behold. However, it doesn’t just come by chance. Rather, it is the result of careful care and maintenance. There are several tools used in caring for a garden, and the hedge trimmer is one of them. If you are looking to make your garden or yard look better and have decided to buy a hedge trimmer, this article will show you how to use a hedge trimmer Trusted Source Hedge trimmer - Wikipedia hedge trimmershrub trimmer, or bush trimmer is a gardening tool or machine used for trimming (cutting, pruning) hedges or solitary shrubs (bushes). Different designs as well as manual and powered versions of hedge trimmers exist. correctly.

In this guide, we thoroughly consider the best ways to practice trimming your hedge. Part of the advice we give includes how to use the equipment safely, and we answer all the questions that you might have about the use of this tool.

How a hedge trimmer works

First, how does this tool work? To understand how it works, you need to know the different parts that make up the hedge trimmer. A consideration of these parts and their functions will help you get a sense of how the tool works.

Parts of the Trimmer

In-detail Guide on How to Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely and Effectively

  • Motor

This is a part that is found on all hedge trimmers regardless of the model. The motor of the hedge trimmer comes as either gas-powered or electric-powered. The gasoline option uses fuel and oil to power the hedge trimmer. On the other hand, the electric motor uses an electrical current to power the trimmer.

  • Blade

Another important part is the blades. Hedge trimmers are actually made up of several blades protruding from the machine. The blade might come from the sides or just one side.

The position of the blades will determine whether you can cut from just one direction or can work from any angle.

There are two types of blades: single-action and double-action.

With these two parts in mind, let’s now consider how the hedge trimmer works.

The trimmer is a relatively simple device. Whether you use a gas-powered or electric option, you will find that the trimmer is comprised of blades extending from the body of the tool. These blades are connected to the motor, which when switched on will move one or all the blades to move in a forward and backward motion. The rapid movement is what generates enough friction to cut through the hedge.

What you can do with a hedge trimmer

The hedge trimmer is a very versatile tool that has will give you excellent performance. It is used to trim different bushes and hedges. Some examples of the bushes and hedges that it can trim include:

  • Hawthorn
  • Holm Oak
  • Red Robin Hedges
  • Common Laurel
  • Privet
  • Holly Bushes
  • Boxwoods
  • Portuguese Laurel

These are just some of the types of bushes that you can use the hedge trimmer with. One tip that many experts have provided with regards to trimming your yard is to trim outside the dormant period. For most plants, this falls in the winter or fall months.

While it might be tempting to trim the shrubs in spring, doing that can do more damage than good as it might result in cutting off the new growth needed for berries or flowers just. If you want to reshape the hedge, do this after the plants have flowered for the year.

How to use a hedge trimmer

Know that you know the type of hedges you can trim, the best time for trimming, and how a trimmer works, let’s now consider how to use the hedge trimmer. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind.

Hedge design

Before you start trimming anything, have the overall design you desire in mind. You can decide whether your hedges would serve as a fence, add personality to your garden, or just be a privacy screen.

Start or connect the trimmer

If the hedge trimmer is an electric model, then the next step is to plug it into power. When doing this, ensure that the cord is long enough for the job at hand. This is also the time to check out the working condition of the tool. So, check out the status of the cord, checking whether it is safety-rated. When trimming, keep the cord behind you at all times.

For a gas-powered option, check out the oil and fuel and ensure all the parts are in good working order.

Work your way up

As you begin cutting start near the base of the hedge and cut your way upwards. As you cut, do not do so in jerky movements. Instead, make sure that you move the bar slowly and steadily. As you cut, let the blades do the work of cutting. Hence, don’t apply so much force that you’ll cut too deeply into the hedge. Experts have remarked that slow, shallow passes will help you to cut off the parts of the hedge.

Angle the sides

In-detail Guide on How to Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely and Effectively

The sides of the hedge, when done right, will bring out the beauty of the hedge. Therefore, you should pay attention to them. To get the shape that you want, you need some finesse. Normally, hedges are narrow at the top and broaden at the base. Therefore, the sides need to be cut at an angle. Apart from improving the appearance of the hedge, the angle is vital to the height of the hedge. It will allow sunlight to pass into the hedge and make it healthier.

Cut the tops

In-detail Guide on How to Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely and Effectively

After cutting the edges, it’s time to move to the tops. The way you cut this will depend on the type of design you want. To cut the top of the hedge flat, hold the cutting bar exactly level and move it left to right and back again. As with the other ways of cutting, trim only a bit at a time. The tops are the last part to cut since you should always start from the bottom and work your way up.

Different types of hedge trimmers

The type of a hedge trimmer also has an impact on its usage. So let’s briefly consider them.

Electric hedge trimmer

This refers to the corded electric trimmers. They are some of the most popular types of trimmers on the market due to the ease of use, quiet performance, and little maintenance. All you need to start them is to plug them in and press a button. They are affordable options as well. The main downside of this type of trimmer is that you have to drag an extension cord around. Reviews praise the Black + Decker BEHT150 as one of the best electric trimmers due to the reduced vibration and solid build.

Cordless hedge trimmer

These are trimmers that are powered by batteries. They combine the best qualities of gas and electric trimmers. Since they are cordless, you can move around the hedge without any entanglements. It is good for the environment as there are no emissions. It is also very easy to start. The Greenworks 80V cordless pole is an excellent example of this type of hedge trimmer.

Gas hedge trimmer

The gas hedge trimmer is just as the name implies. These are trimmers powered by gas. Due to their bigger size and motor, they are more powerful than the other types of trimmers. They are cordless, which makes them easy to move around. However, their two-stroke engines burn fuel, which creates emissions that might be bad for the environment.

Telescopic hedge trimmer

These are unique trimmers that can be extended. They are mainly designed for cutting the top of high hedges. The blades can also be adjusted to different angles so that you can cut the hedge while on the ground.

Safety tips

While hedge trimmers are excellent tools to use, they come with safety requirements. When used wrongly, you can end up with serious injuries. That is why this section is very important. Here are some of the best tips on using hedge trimmers safely.

Clear the area

Before you begin trimming any hedges, ensure that the trimming area is free of any lawn debris, toys, garden hoses, and other objects that can cause problems. By clearing the area, you will have an unimpeded view of the hedge and you will have a better chance of remaining safe. It will also eliminate any tripping accidents. By clearing the area to be trimmed, all broken branches will not affect the blade.

Wear the correct gear

While trimming, you must wear the right clothes and gear. Using a hedge trimmer involves lots of flying debris. Therefore, you should be set up to protect yourself from the debris. Some of the things you should wear include:

  • Goggles
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Garden gloves
  • Non-slip, covered shoes
  • Tight-fitting clothes
  • Long pants
  • Earplugs

Always be alert

As you work, keep your eyes open and remain alert to potential dangers. You should always operate the machine with safety in mind. Respect the tool and don’t do anything that might result in an injury to you.

Final thoughts

Hedge trimmers are excellent tools that can help you to get the best shape out of your hedge. You must know how to use hedge trimmer correctly. We hope that this guide helps you to use the trimmer well.


Hedge trimmer - Wikipedia
hedge trimmershrub trimmer, or bush trimmer is a gardening tool or machine used for trimming (cutting, pruning) hedges or solitary shrubs (bushes). Different designs as well as manual and powered versions of hedge trimmers exist.
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