Here is a nice easy article on which time of year is best to cut your hedge, and for deciduous hedges it’s in late Winter. This is because deciduous hedges lay dormant in the Winter meaning that they loose their foliage in Autumn, sit bare with no leaves through Winter and start growing again when Spring arrives. If you cut off all of the greenery from your hedge in the Spring and Summer months then your hedge will likely die off as these are the months that it takes in the energy from the leaves, ready for Winter.
Evergreen hedges such as Laurels, Leylandii and Conifers are best to cut at the beginning of the season as they are slower growing compared to deciduous hedges and you may have to wait until Summer to start seeing any real growth. Unlike deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the Autumn and lay dormant in the Winter, evergreen hedges need their leaves all year round so it’s best to cut them in early Spring. Please inspect the hedges thoroughly for bird’s nests as it is against the law to cut hedges whilst knowing that there is an active bird’s nest inside.
If you have hedges that flower such as Jasmine and Lavender then it is recommended to cut them back as soon as the flowers turn brown and start to die off, giving enough time for your hedge to set buds for the following year.
How often should I cut my hedges?
Before explaining how often you should be cutting your hedges, you need to think about whether you have formal or informal hedges. In short, a formal hedge is one that is cut tightly, with straight neatly cut edges or neatly kept designs such as archways and most achievable by using hedges with smaller leaves such as Boxwood, Privet, Laurel, Yew and Holly. An informal hedge has a more natural, leafy look and include hedges such as Hydrangeas, Lavender and Lilac.
As informative hedges are left to look more natural then I would recommend cutting them back only once per year, in the Winter for deciduous hedges and in Spring for evergreen hedges with no maintenance in between. Some informative hedges may only need a cut every 2 years but it will be up to your eye to decide.
Formative hedges will need at least 2 cuts per year. Once in the Winter for deciduous hedges, once in the Spring for evergreen hedges, and followed by a light trim in the Summer for both types of hedges to keep them clean cut.
The hedge Law
Whilst writing this article on when the best time to cut your hedge is, I feel it important to let you know about the hedge law which is to do with nesting birds and particularly important when it comes to cutting your evergreen hedge. Birds nest between March and August so I would recommend avoiding these months when hedge cutting if possible, but if not then please inspect the hedges thoroughly for any nesting birds.
It is an offence under section 1 of the wildlife and countryside act of 1981 to disturb or destroy an active bird’s nest whilst knowing it to be there so always check before cutting.