When to trim a box hedge? 3 suggestions

When to trim a box hedge? 3 suggestions

Looking for professional hedge trimming advice for how and when to trim a box hedge? Then stay around as we guide you through the entire process, step by step. We will get into details and give you top-tier recommendations for efficient garden hedge trimming. 


Trimming a box hedge is a difficult task. We offer you some professional advice related to having the perfect garden. Read our four suggestions for hedge trimming success!

More about hedge trimming

What is hedge trimming? Simply explained, hedge trimming is the process of cutting off excessive, infected, and diseased growth from your shrubs for health and aesthetic reasons. The cut-off process is extremely beneficial to your plants and your garden. Especially when it comes to decorative box hedge plants.

As the name suggests, box hedges are all about looking sharp and presentable. The only way to achieve that effortless and attractive look and shape is by regular hedge trimming maintenance. Trimming keeps developed hedges dense and compact, and healthy. It is also a great pest and disease infestation prevention technique.


There are two types of box hedges – formal and informal. Formal hedges are grown for decoration so they are very dense clipped and neat, while informal hedges have a more natural shape. 


Do formative pruning for the first two years of newly planted box hedges in winter or in early springtime. Then, once the hedge is developed, you need to carry out maintenance trimming between the spring and summer seasons. Twice a year for formal hedges and once a year for informal ones. 

Hedge trimming techniques and tools

There is more to hedge trimming than just taking the shears or the trimmer, and cutting off any irregular growth. Every gardener needs to know how and when to trim box hedge plants, as well as what cutting technique and garden tools to use for ultimate wow results.

Hedge trimming tools

Some of the manual tools that can help you trim box hedges are garden shears, hand pruners, curved saws, and secateurs. If you want a quick and professional cut, you can also go for electric-, battery- or gas-powered hedge trimmers. 

Do not forget to wear protective gear and clothing for extra gardening safety. 

Hedge trimming techniques 

For box hedges, you want to achieve a tidy, even, and symmetrical hedge. 


This is the correct way to do that, step by step:


  1. Cut off overgrowth and the large branches that stick out.
  2. Remove any infected or pest-infested growth.
  3. Do fine pruning by trimming the sides vertically with an arc sweeping motion.
  4. Hold the trimmer blades horizontally at a slight angle and trim the top of the box hedge, aiming for a straight cut.


Check out these additional tips and techniques on hedge trimming for more promising results:


  • Always keep the cutter tool parallel to the hedge
  • Work from the bottom of the box hedge going upwards
  • When hedge trimming the sides, begin cutting at the back and move forward
  • Try to avoid foliage damage from the cutting process
  • Make a cardboard template of the right shape you want and place it on the hedge for comparison, to achieve a perfectly-shaped green ornament
  • Tie a tight horizontal string between two stout canes (on the side you are currently working on) to have a visual guide for straight clean cuts, lines, and crisp edges

When to trim a box hedge

Now that you know all the hedge trimming techniques and the tools you need to use to shape the perfect healthy-looking box hedge, it is time to talk about the appropriate trim timing. Check out our four main hedge trimming tips for novice gardeners in the next few paragraphs. 

Avoid trimming in the hot sun 

The best time for garden hedge trimming is mid-morning and afternoon. And the worst time to trim box hedges is at noon. If you are trimming in summer when the weather is unbearable throughout the whole day, then leave the task for the early morning, before the heat waves hit. 


Let’s be honest, any garden maintenance task under the scorching sun can feel like torture and lead to serious health consequences for the gardener performing them. That includes hedge trimming. 


So if you ever think about going out to your garden at noon to cut and shape your box hedges, our advice is to abort the task. Wait until tomorrow morning or later in the afternoon instead. By doing that, you are saving yourself from potential heatstroke and skin burns. 


Another reason not to do hedge trimming in the hot sun is to avoid box hedge damage. That’s right if you decide to make fresh cuts at noon that could lead to serious leaf scorch which will ruin the look and affect the health of your hedges.

Late winter

Late winter is the best time to shape up an overgrown box hedge – right before the greens break dormancy and start spring flushing. So trim away! 

Any excessive growth and burned tips can be cut off at the end of the cold season to encourage fresh growth in spring and summer.  The result is a strong spring flush and a way shorter period until new growth. For this type of maintenance hedge trimming, you can also wait until early spring. 

Late spring

If your hedge trimming goal is to maintain the height and shape of your box hedges, then you should consider pruning in late spring and early summer. After the spring flush is the best time to achieve a more neat, tidy, and presentable look for your formal hedges. A manicured look that will last all throughout the summer season.


Did you enjoy our hedge trimming tips? We hope you apply them to your beautiful garden and enhance your gardening talents and hedge-care knowledge! 

But of course, not everyone has the time, skills, and patience to take on hedge trimming. In case you need someone else to take on the pruning task in your garden, we have got you covered. Our gardeners in West London are always here to help with gardening maintenance tasks like hedge trimming. 


Get in touch with our professionals to get a quote.

Let's chat

Our Customer Service Team are not available right now. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you.