Major trim to cedar hedge


We live in Swansea (south of Bloor and Jane toward the lake). Our house faces south (toward the lake).
We moved in 11 years ago and inherited a too-tall (about 2 metres tall) box (?) cedar hedge that runs along the west side (between our lawn and the neighbour’s driveway) and front (south side) of our property (along the sidewalk). Not really fans but kept it. Have trimmed it annually to keep it from growing taller.
We find it dangerous because it is high enough that it makes it hard for us, and our neigbours, to see the sidewalk (small children and animals) when pulling out of the driveway.
We would love to cut it down drastically, by about 1 metre. Can we? What do you recommend as the fastest way to get this hedge down to a safer height? Thanks so much!


Thank you for sending your question to the Toronto Master Gardeners.

We receive many questions about cedars hedges. It is important to know that all new growth of cedars is produced in the green ends of branches which may be trimmed back but must retain some new green growth as this species does not generate new growth from old wood. Care will be needed to remove the ‘rusty’ areas of foliage to ensure that any green growth is preserved in order to regenerate. Totally brown limbs within the shrub may be safely removed. To decrease height, remove no more than 20% of the tree’s height. The best time to prune is early spring.

A number of the questions we receive concern the maintenance of cedar hedges. To read the questions and answers in our archive, please go to and in the Find It Here search box, type in “cedar hedge” for a list of pertinent questions which you may find useful.