The Art of Hedge Shearing
When one thinks of a hedge it can be an elaborate labyrinth like the courts of Versailes, or a privacy screen between neighbors, or a foundation planting where shearing it keeps it at height and ever looming branches away from the home. Most shrubs can be hedges, from conifers like Boxwoods to Hemlocks and deciduous shrubs like the popular Privet to Forsynthia. A hedge is usually a row of monoculture shrubs.
BUT WHY SHEAR?
Well, why does anyone prune or shape shrubs and trees in general? It’s to control its growth and/or create room for other plants. Also, shearing can be a design element to enhance the landscape. It is a funny design conflict when one neighbor meticulously shears its hedge and the other lets it grow up and wild.
THE METHODS OF SHEARING
There are a couple of ways to shear: there’s simple hedge shearing where you use sharpened manual shears and cut like a stylist with hair. This approach creates a more natural, informal look. Though some are true artists that can create beautiful shapes with hedge shears. It takes more time and there is a meditative quality to it.
Hedge trimming is when gas or electric powered shears are used to trim, making the effort quicker and easier. Hedge trimming creates tight, formal shaping, and is often used to create square or artistically round shrubs or trees. Though holding a pair of heavy hedge trimmers can be exhausting in of itself. Sometimes I feel it slip and out comes a nub I did not mean to do.
A good sharpened pair of hedge shears or hedge trimmers are a must. Ladders, especially orchard ladders since you can get into the hedge as much as you need without breaking too many branches. Tarps, barrels for picking up debris. Lastly rakes for brushing the hedge to get any trimmings off hedge and for cleanup.