Trimming your cedar hedges is a must to keep them healthy and looking great. But knowing how to properly prune your cedars can be tricky. When cutting back your hedges is in the cards, less is more. If you cut too deep into the branches, the foliage won’t grow back, potentially putting the health of the entire hedge at risk. If you are asking yourself, “How far back can you trim a cedar hedge?”, here are some handy tips on how to do it right.
Trim your hedges
Cedars will grow from 1 to 3 feet (30-90 cm) a year, so you will want to stay on top of the trimming duties before growth gets out of hand. When you trim your hedges, remove one third to two thirds of the length of the current year’s growth. You can use manual hand shears or an electric hedge trimming tool to cut back your cedars.
Start in early spring
When it comes time to trimming your cedar hedges, it is a good idea to start in early spring to promote healthy growth throughout the summer months. Begin by raking up any fallen foliage that has collected under the hedges. This will help provide space for new branch growth.
To properly prune your hedges, use the shortest branches as a trimming guideline. Following the natural pyramid growth of the cedars, prune the uneven foliage, leaving the bottom branches long, trimming accordingly as you move up the length of the tree.
Prune throughout the summer
Summer hedge maintenance is important to keep your hedges in tip-top shape year-round. During the summer months, trim your cedars after every 6 inches (15 cm) of growth.
The hot and dry season can wreak havoc on cedars, causing browning and needle loss. So, make sure to keep the soil well hydrated by watering the cedars once a week.
Avoid trimming in the fall
When September arrives, it is a good idea to avoid any hedge trimming. During the autumn, your cedars are preparing to hunker down for the colder months ahead, focusing their energy on their roots. Open cuts will be harder to heal, leaving your trees susceptible to damage that could take months to repair.
Protect your cedar hedges in the winter
A little winter prevention can go a long way to protecting your cedar hedges during the cold season. If you live in an area where de-icing salt is used, make sure to cover up your hedges. Salt can cause major damage to cedars, potentially even killing them.
When the snow comes, remove any precipitation buildup that has accumulated at the top of the hedges. This will help prevent branches from bending and breaking.
Trimming your hedges isn’t difficult—you just need to use caution. If you are stuck wondering, “How far back can you trim a cedar hedge?”, simply remember to trim your cedars annually, never pruning beyond their current year’s growth.