What I have learned about trimming hedges

I came across a draft of a post I had obviously put together after a particularly traumatic hedge trimming session but hadn’t posted (always wait). Anyway, after a bit of tweaking on reflection and with Autumn fast approaching, here are some of the things I have learnt about hedge trimming…


Hedge clippings literally explode which means they can be found tens of metres away from where you were, even when there isn’t the slightest hint of a breeze. How so?

As soon as clippings hit the ground they double in size – it is a bit like that scene in the Gringotts Vault in the Harry Potter Movie. Even when you are stuffing them into the bin, bag, or whatever they keep doubling in size.

Oh, and be sure to wear thick gloves because you can bet there was a bramble hidden in there somewhere.


Just like washing your car you can be sure a neighbour will joke “You can do mine next!”. If I had a pound for everyone who said that… oh well.

Talking of neighbours there is the thorny (ha ha – Pyracantha – the most wonderful hedge to cut – not) subject of how to approach their side of the hedge.

If you are lucky, they will take care of it, do a decent job and sort out the clippings. If you are unlucky, they will have a pristine garden with beds pushed right up the hedge full of dinky delicate plants in perfect bloom or if very unlucky, thorn infested shrubs (Pyracantha of course) AND they will insist you clip it as the “professional”.

Ah neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours (join in)… especially when it comes hedges.


No matter how hard you try, you will still end up picking the busiest possible day/time to do a pavement/roadside hedge. This means that every 2 minutes without fail someone comes along and so you must shift your stuff out of the way, tug your hat, say a cheery “Thank you”, grovel apologetically (for going about your work!) before getting it all back in place again so you can carry on. Arrgghhh.

You can also be sure that one passer by (and their scruffy mutt) will stop and seek to engage you in a lengthy conversation about hedge cutting (shoot me please) whilst both watching said scruffy mutt pick up and drop cuttings many meters away from where you are working. Ahhh mystery solved…

The Sun!

There you are trying to get a neat (and level) line and yup, you just happen to be at just the right place for the sun to always be in your eye line. No matter what you do, adjust your hat, your height, your position, it doesn’t matter – the biggest celestial orb in our little bit of the universe will kindly shift itself in space just to make your task that bit harder. On the plus side, it is nice and warm but you do have those funny blobs in your vision when you blink for days afterwards.

The Wind!

Wind is really sneaky, devious, mischievous and downright annoying. In fact, I think it as the Loki of all the elements. Why so? Well either…

1. You plan to trim the hedge and the weather forecast says perfect conditions however by the time you arrive it is blowing a gale.

2. Or even worse is that there isn’t even the merest mint of a breeze but as soon as you start your work random gusts send your clippings in every direction possible.

The wind is very much the most mischievous of elements.

The Rain!

If the sun or the wind doesn’t get you, don’t worry the rain will be more than happy to make your hedge cutting time miserable. What is not to like about picking up fistfuls of sodden and ever so finely chopped bits of greenery from every nook and cranny because the garden is a mass of gravel, rocks and various other paraphernalia (aka “features”).

Then when you get home, you can look forward to the fun of removing the remaining finely chopped greenery from your tools, your transport oh and every other nook and cranny you have about you.

Like beach sand, you are still finding the stuff about your life for months afterwards but without the nice memory and whilst having to explain why this is happening to a very unimpressed other half.


You can cut the same hedge many times, but each time it gets a little bit taller and wider than you were expecting or are comfortable with.

If working at a height that involves steps or ladders, you can also be sure it just has grown just that bit more than your steps, ladders, arms, long (but not long enough) kit will reach.

Remember, always be sure to keep your sensible hat on.

Well done!

So, you have wrestled with the elements, dogs, passers-by, fat tall hedges and tutting neighbours and now you can take a step back, admire a job well done – ah those lovely, neat lines – you can pack up your stuff and be on your way.

Even better, a few days later as you are driving past to another job and can anticipate and admire your work once again that is, of course, until you spot the one errant stem which has sprung from nowhere and is now sticking out like a sore thumb for your client, their neighbours, and the whole world to see.

Your reputation is in tatters – but we know how it really is.

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