Pruning Deciduous Hedges

(Question)

Hello! I’m looking for advice about a hedge that needs rejuvenation. We’ve neglected it for a few years, and I know we need to do some pretty hard pruning to do that. My question is, should it be in the spring or the fall. And, if the spring, have we left it too late this year? (Apr 27). I’ve attached a picture. Any thoughts on how far it might be trimmed? Thank you very much!

 

(Answer)

It is difficult to tell exactly what kind of hedge you have but it does appear to be a deciduous hedge that loses it’s leaves at the end of the growing season. In general, the best time to prune this type of hedge is in the late winter or early spring when the plant is dormant. There are two types of pruning: Regeneration, which involves cutting the hedge to almost ground level and Renewal which means cutting out the older stems near the base. If leaf buds have appeared, it is safest to take the renewal approach and leave the major pruning to the late winter next year. After this, you may prune the hedge by one third each year to keep it healthy. You can refer to our Ask a Master Gardener Q and A under the subject: Privet Hedges.

Here is a website that maybe useful

Pruning Times, The Royal Horticultural Society. This website addresses pruning for a wide variety of hedge types: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=352