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  Hand Trim or Hedge Trimmer: Does the PLANT Care?
Hand Trim or Hedge Trimmer: Does the PLANT Care? Sign In/Join 
Basically my questions is do the PLANTS care whether you selectively hand trim or use hedge trimmers.

For more than a decade I've selectively hand trimmed my flowering shrubs. I did that too with my dozen boxwoods but I keep them in a square shape and it took hours. Then I discovered the hedge trimmer yeah! I just didn't want to take HOURS over DAYS, using hand ciippers But I read somewhere years ago the hedge trimmers tear up the plant and make it look hacked -- that hand trimming is better.

Well a little bit of info is a dangerous thing so all these years I've hand trimmed.

Well today my landscaper asked if I wanted him to trim my weigela. I said sure why not. Well NOT thinking, I thought he'd hand trim it. Duh, he went and got his hedge trimmer. So of course I gasped and said I always to it by hand. He said "no, this is OK." I ask if it's bad for the plant he said "no it will come back just fine." He's been doing work for me for years I let him do it.

Of course, it doesn't look like what it does when I'm done taking off a branch here and there. The entire shrub is trimmed down....blunt cuts all over. It doesn't look hacked or destroyed or anything like that, I've just never seen it looking like this.

So have I been wasting my time all these years? Could I have just used the hedged trimmers and hacked away. OK, of course "hacking at it" is a bit too strong. But that was the first time "my baby" had been hedge trimmed after being selectively (lovingly) hand trimmed a branch here and there since being planted a decade ago.

I'm HOPING to hear that at least my hand trimming and shaping has made a difference in 'training' the shrub.

But I can take it, be honest.....I've been a sucker, right?...I could have, and should have, been using the hedgers from trim number one, right?. Because I also hand trim my euonymus and my fire power nandina. And using my hedge trimmers I could be done in half an hour! Yeah
Posts: 2513 | Registered: Jun 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of mgt
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I've done both. I had trimmed until I got an electric trimmer. My shrubs don't care. And, they still look nice.

"I've decided to quit my job, drop out of society, and wear live animals as hats."
Posts: 7866 | Location: Black Creek, WI Zone 5 | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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The year we moved into a rental house that had over-grown boxwoods ALL around it, I bought myself some hedge trimmers.
That was back in about '86. I've used them ever since. I even use them on mums to keep the buds off until July 4. It is soooo much faster and it hasn't ever affected any plants that I've trimmed.
Now if there are just a couple of branches that need cut back, I'll do that by hand. But if it is a full out cut back...out come the hedge trimmers.
By next week it should look fine again...just neater.

"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Posts: 5112 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of nettiejay
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I think it depends on the type of shrub.
Junipers, for one example, don't do well when just the growing tips are sheared off with an electric trimmer. Better to hand prune whole branches off the main stem to control growth, so that light can reach the interior of the plant. The branch can't sprout new growth on its length without sunlight. Other species send out new growth all along the branch without the need of direct sunlight, so tip-trimming isn't as big an issue for those.
This is how it was explained by Roger Cook, the landscape expert, on an episode of Ask This Old House.
Posts: 4683 | Location: zone 6b, Missouri | Registered: Sep 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, I guess I'll be taking hedge trimmers to my euonymus and firepower nandina.

The hand trimming was just that mostly 'shaping it,' not really keeping the size/growth down.
The power trimming will give me a chance to really cut down their size a bit (not more than by a third of course)

The time I'm going to save will be incredible.
Posts: 2513 | Registered: Jun 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Which to use depends on the shrub and what you want to do with it. I have seen "landscape" workers use hedge trimmers on every shrub and trim them all into those atrocious balls, Weigela, forsythia, yews, quince, viburnum, etc. all pruned the same.
Hedge trimmers, whether hand or powered, will leave branch ends while with pruners you would be cutting the branch back properly, most likely. However, I'd not want to prune a privet or boxwood hedge with a pruner.

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.
Posts: 8188 | Location: Twin Lake, MI USA | Registered: Aug 19, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I used to prune mine by hand and they looked so much better. I'm no longer able soy yard man uses hedge trimmers. I don't like it but....
Posts: 2316 | Location: Arkansas Zone 7 | Registered: Aug 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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