Hedges don’t typically need an awful lot of maintenance, but if they are left for too long without any pruning they can begin to look out of control and scruffy. If you’ve got a hedge that is starting to get a little unkempt it could be time to put in a bit of work. But trimming hedges can involve elements of risk including the use of power tools and working at height, so it’s vital that you make safety a priority. Here is how to stay safe while you trim your hedges.

Trimming hedges safely and using the right safety equipment

Use the right tools

The first step is to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. This will depend on the type of hedge and the overall size of the job. If you’ve got a fairly small hedge or you’re just doing a bit of gentle pruning, it’s probably best to work by hand with a pair of high quality shears. Ideally you should choose shears with adjustable blade tension as well as cushioned handles.

If you’re working with a larger hedge or you really need to work trimming back a very overgrown shrub, you will likely need to use an electric hedge trimmer. You can choose a trimmer that plugs into the mains – this is good if the job is close enough to a power socket, which is fine in most small or medium-sized gardens. Alternatively, if you prefer working without a clumsy cord or need to move a long way away from a power source, cordless hedge trimmers are available.

Get your technique right

When you’re working with any kind of cutting device, such as a trimmer or shears, there are always going to be risks. That means you need to get your technique right to ensure there is no risk of you injuring yourself. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using your trimmer. Not only will this mean that you will get the job done quicker, it will also ensure that you are protected from the sharp edges of the device.

Working at height

When you need to trim very tall hedges, you may need to work at height. This can be the point that you are exposed to the most risk. Many people use whichever ladder they have to hand and might use dangerous practices such as leaning the ladder against a hedge. It’s a much better idea to invest in some access equipment that is actually suitable such as a step ladder with a platform.

Wear the right clothes

Finally, it might seem like a trivial point but if you are going to carry out this sort of work, you need to be wearing the right clothes. If you’re going to be working on a step ladder you need sensible footwear with plenty of grip. It’s also a good idea to wear eye and ear protection if you’re using a loud, electric trimmer.