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Hedge Cutting

hedge trimming

Hedges: when to prune?

Hedges need regular trimming to keep them within their boundaries. Pruning times vary depending on what type of hedge you have.


  • Prune young deciduous hedges in winter
  • Prune young evergreen hedges in spring
  • Prune established hedges yearly to keep them looking good

When’s the right time to prune?

Timing of pruning your hedges should take into account the potential for nesting birds (see ‘Problems’ section below). Generally but not always, these are the optimum timings for pruning hedges:

Deciduous hedges

  • Formative pruning: In winter, just after planting, and for the first two years after planting
  • Maintenance pruning: Each summer

Evergreen hedges

  • Formative pruning: In the spring after planting and for the first two years after planting
  • Maintenance pruning: Each summer

For advice on pruning techniques, see hedges and trimming

Trimming facts for our popular hedges:


Buxus sempervirens (box): Twice or three times during growing season
Ilex aquifolium(holly) Once in late summer
Ligustrum (privet) Twice or three times during growing season
Lonicera nitida (Honeysuckle) Twice or three times in growing season
Prunus laurocerasus  (Cherry laurel) Prune twice during growing season


Chamaecyparis lawsonia (Lawson cypress): Twice, in spring and summer
x Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress): Twice or three times in growing season
Taxus baccata (yew): Twice, in summer and autumn
Thuja plicata (western red cedar) In spring and again in early autumn


Carpinus betulus (hornbeam): Once, in mid- to late summer
Crataegus monogyna(hawthorn): Twice, in summer and autumn
Fagus sylvatica (beech): Once, in late summer

Informal and flowering hedges

hedge trimming landscape


Berberis darwinii: Immediately after flowering
Cotoneaster lacteus: After fruiting
Escallonia:Immediately after flowering
Lavandula (lavender): Immediately after flowering
Pyracantha: Late summer


Berberis thunbergii: Immediately after flowering
Forsythia: After flowering, remove some older stems
Fuchsia magellancia: In spring, remove old stems
Rosa rugosa:  In spring, remove thin twigs


When we prune hedges we check that there are no birds nesting, 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. The bird nesting season is usually from 1st March to 31st July. We also try and avoid trimming conifer hedges after August, as this tends to encourage bare/brown patches to develop in the hedge.