Hedge trimming. It might seem like a bit of a dark art but there's not a lot to it - as long as you have the right kit, perhaps have a head for heights if your hedge hasn't been trimmed for some time and observe some simple rules.
The first thing that we always pay a lot of attention to is nesting birds. We've been asked to look at a few hedges recently and when we've set our ladders up we've discovered nests........
Now some of those nests are old and it's evident that the fledglings have flown but recently in the Chew Valley we nearly fell off our ladder when a pigeon emerged from a nest that we'd missed and revealed two young pigeons. The fledglings had large beaks and were fully feathered but we carefully took our ladder down and arranged to come back and finish the job another day.
We did that not just because it's an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built but more so because it's simply the right thing to do.
That said we're now nearing the end of the nesting season and we're getting more and more enquiries to trim some hedges..............
For now then what we'll talk about are the basics - the tools that you need and how to go about it. We'll talk in more detail another time about formative and maintenance pruning for different types of hedge - but for now let's look at how we tackle the basics.
The first thing we think about is what we need to prune the hedge in question. As you might know if you've heard us talking on FromeFM we have both petrol and battery kit. Our hedge trimmer is battery - we chose that as we try to be as green as we can possibly be - whilst balancing that with the ability to be able to complete the job as efficiently as we can.
Anyway this is our hedge trimmer. It's a long reach trimmer with an adjustable head that means we can tackle most things! Nice isn't it?!
The other thing that you might have noticed is the step ladder. Whilst some trimmers are extendable we'd much rather use our tripod step ladder and get up there amongst "the canopy" and be able to see exactly what we're doing - and what we're actually trimming!
We don't advocate standing on the ground and using a longer reach or extendable trimmer - simply because we'd prefer to be able to see what we're doing. That battery operated Stihl needs a steady hand (or arms!) when we're up the ladder - let alone waving a petrol equivalent about with the trimming head adjusted through 90 degrees and using it from the ground!
And here we are using the beast!
Another thing that you might notice is our safety gear. Whilst the battery operated kit tends to be a lot quieter than it's petrol cousins we still value both our hearing and our sight - so we wear appropriate kit at all times!
Some hedges require a different approach - and for those we might decide to use our secateurs or loppers. Here's a beech hedge that we tackled the other day.
Ok so it took a bit longer than simply tackling it with the trimmer but by using the Felco secateurs and loppers we made sure that the leaves weren't torn and that the cuts that we made were nice and clean. We'll talk about why we did that and why that's important for certain types of hedge in another article.
And yes. By using our tripod step ladder we were able to get up high amongst the top of this beauty and make sure that we avoided giving the gorillas a trim!
That's about it for now. We've got a few weeks of hedge trimming lined up starting tomorrow and the Land Rover is all kitted out and ready for those hedges. All we need is some pleasant weather..........
We will though over the next few days talk some more about how we tackle different types of trimming and for different types of hedge.
If you'd like any more information or if you'd like to see us in action then you can contact us through our facebook page, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07734 365028. We'd love to hear from you!