How to Use Hedge Shears? The 4-step Guide with Basics

Owning a beautiful set of shrubs feels (and looks) good unless they are in proper shape. Because shrubs and trees that grow out of control, are real odds for a concerned gardener.

So, how would you do that? Well, there are a number of pruning and shearing tools. But the most used one is called the hedge shears. These are hand tools that operate like scissors, but on a whole different scale.

In this article, we have got our pieces to talk about what a hedge shear is, when and where to use them, and finally, the 4-step guide on how to use a hedge trimmer with perfection.

Got a few minutes to check out? Let’s go-

Some Basics on Hedge Shears

We know that some of you had been using hedge shears for a long time. But for those who have not, we would like to talk about some basics before we dig deep.

Hedge shears are pruning tools that are designed to remove whole branches or to cut a number of small tree branches at the same time. For an easier explanation, it’s quite like giving the hedge a haircut.

In terms of dimensions, hedge shears are usually 12 inches to 28 inches long. The handle is made of metal or wood, while the blades are of course metal. These sets of features differentiate hedge shears with the close siblings- grass shears and garden shears.

You can see an edgy and straight curve if you look at the cutting surface of the blade. And this is the curve that holds branches while you trim them out with the hedge shear.

What Size of Branches Can A Hedge Shear Deal with?

The branches that usual hedge shears are able to cut are usually ½ inches in thickness at best. And trimming them off with a hedge trimmer is not only good looking for the garden but also healthy for the plants themselves.

Also, it keeps the garden and bushes clutter-free and helps to create shrubs and topiary in the garden. As long as you’re concerned about the aesthetics of your garden, this is good for you.

When to Use A Hedge Shear and When Not?

It’s pretty basic that gardeners use hedge shears and other pruning tools on almost a weekly basis. But there are certain times when you can make best out of your trimming and pruning activities using tools like hedge shears.

So, keep these facts in minds to figure out the right times of using a hedge shear-

  • Prune tree branches right after the flowering event.
  • Branches that broom on new growth, should be pruned in the winter or early spring.
  • Don’t make pruning cuts in spring, as they are likely to grow back or form a callus or do both.
  • The best time of pruning shrub species that are special, should be learned individually as they don’t match any usual routine of pruning.

4 Steps on How to Use Hedge Shears

Step 1: Prepare the Subject and Make it Clutter-Free

The process starts with hand-removing the dead, diseased and damaged branches that you can identify without any tools. Remove them one by one and make the bush/tree ready to be treated with the hedge shear.

Step 2: Decide the Branches to Shear

If you are using the hedge shear to give your garden shrub a certain shape (dome or so), then you should know about the tree branches that you want to remove.

If you’re doing it as a regular gardening chore, then also this step is applicable. So, mark those branches that you want to trim and proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Get into the Action

Now is the step where you will start taking action with the hedge shear. Identify the cutting points before you apply the blades on it.

The cutting points can be decided with two facts into consideration-

  1. The shape you want to give to your tree/shrub.
  2. The joints of tree branches.

Keep it in your mind that you can’t cut tree branches at a point that is beyond its joint point with another branch. This will damage the health of the plant and leave brutal effects on them as well.

Also, it’s good to avoid leaves stubs on the branches while you’re trimming. These stubs are likely to die back and stick dead to the place, which doesn’t look good at all.

Verdict? Well, you should prune shrubs that are old and those which have bloomed and flowered recently. The shrubs that bloom on new growth, should also be pruned when it’s winter. At some instances, this can be done in the early springs as well.

Step 4: Clean off the Tool Until Next Use

By now, we are done with the pruning sessions with the hedge shears. In case you are dealing with multiple shrubs or a number of trees, this might take more than one session to do so. But we would suggest you keep doing those on a regular basis. Otherwise, the pruned-out branches can grow back and cause health problems to the plant.

Also, don’t forget to clean off the wooden debris and cut out residue that had been gathered while using. Using water splashes in this regard is a good idea.

In case you are storing the shears for a season or at least a few months, we would ask to apply grease or so to keep the cutting edges free of rust buildup.

Tips While You’re Using A Hedge Shear

Now that you’ve known the steps on how to use a hedge shear, it’s also good to know about some safety concerns. Here goes the list-

  • While using, hedge shears can eject small pieces from the tree branch. This might get on your eyes, in the worst-case scenario. So, protect your eyes with some sort of protective glasses.
  • Maintain a shoulder level with the position of cutting while trimming with a hedge shear. This will let you have better control over the operation.
  • Place both feet firmly on the ground to maintain a balance while applying force with the hedge shear on the tree branch.

Recommended: How to Sharpen Garden Shears

Bottom Line

Thanks for being with the guide on how to use hedge shear to prune tree branches and shrubs to keep them clutter-free. While using the hedge shear through these steps, don’t only think about the outlook. Also, take the health concerns of the plants and the pruning priorities of each of them.