Skip to content

How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please note that you are never charged any extra for that.

How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

Hedge trimmer is a kind of gardening equipment that comes with a blade such as a chainsaw. With the blade, it helps trim or cut or prune hedges or solitary shrubs like bushes. The tool is available in different designs with both manual and powered versions. Let’s know how to use a hedge trimmer.

Different names:

  • Shrub trimmer.
  • Bush trimmer.
  • Hedge cutter.
  • Hedge clippers.
  • Hedge shears.


Back in the days, hand shears used to be the only tool that was utilized to prune hedges. At first, it limited agricultural plots in hedgerow areas, then an isolated garden during the 16th century.

However, in the 19th century, a new tool emerged with the increase in the size and proliferation of gardens; the hedge trimmer.

The first hedge trimmers were developed in the 19th century in the United States. It was developed in 1854 in Idaho by a horizontal and vertical mower Leonard Wood.

Later, it went through several changes and designs adding extra systems such as the ones with a chainsaw in 1856 or the ones with blades during 1871.

Learn how to use a string trimmer.

In 1890, Andrew Fox, an inventor in Ohio developed the mechanism with a hedge trimmer powered by a steam engine.

In the following year in 1891, Robust Eliott came up with the first mobile hedge trimmer patent. The tool was tied to a heavy steam plant with a cable.

The first handy mechanical hedge trimmer invented in 1922 with 2 reciprocating blades. It was patented by Little Wonder CompanyinEngland, a country where garden-art had always been popular. Talking about the company, it is stated to be a well-known brand in landscaping that was associated with the then American firm Schiller-Pfeiffer (now Schiller Grounds Care) in 1935. The brand specializes in both landscaping and gardening equipment.

And finally, the first electric hedge trimmer was developed in 1940 where it was further advanced by Black & Decker with offering the first wireless electric hedge trimmer in 1962.

During the evolutions, not only the weight of the equipment has been lightened, but they also added variations to the blade designs. Besides, safety has also been reinforced with the advancement of automatic turn off features.


Types and reasons to use:

There are three types of hedge trimmer in terms of power sources, let’s know the types and the reasons to use them:

Corded Hedge Trimmer


A corded trimmer is a kind of electric trimmer. They are very light and low-cost. They come ranging from 5 pounds to 10 pounds that makes them great for all the hedge owners. Such a trimmer is great for handling small jobs. You can use it anywhere around the electric outlet. If you want, you can also extend the range simply by connecting it to an extension cord.

However, the con is that the cord can get in the way and also get cut by the hedge sometimes.

Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Cordless trimmer also refers to an electric hedge trimmer. However, it does not need any electrical cord. It runs on battery so you will have the freedom to move anywhere. Albeit they will not be very powerful but they are great for light-duty jobs. The limitation of charge can be a con since the tool requires to be recharged every hour or so.

But the good point is that it does not make noise letting you do the hedge trimming job peacefully.

Gas Powered Hedge Trimmer

They are stated to be the most powerful type of trimmer. They run on gasoline which powers a motor that helps move the blades back and forth. They make an ideal choice if you want to trim hedges or bushes with fairly large branches and stems.

How to edge a lawn and garden is made easy here.

However, they may need frequent filling of the tank with gasoline that can be pricy to you. Moreover, it’s maintenance and repair can also be costly.

How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

Keeping your hedge in shape and well-trimmed is a tiring job…. unless you have a tool that can make the operation easier for you. This is where a hedge trimmer comes into play. You may have bought the tool but now what? You don’t know how to use that hedge trimmer.

Don’t worry then, we have a simple guideline that will help you use the tool with ease.

Step 1: Power connecting the hedge trimmer

Make sure to connect the hedge trimmer to the electricity supply with a safety-rated 3-prong extension cord. Check if the cord has enough allowance to let you move around the tool. Pick one that will provide you with around 3 feet of movement with the tool as you reach upward.

Step 2: Settling on the shape

You have to settle on the shape you would like to cut your hedge prior to operating the machine. The shape you will pick acts as a determinant to how well the hedge would grow. The healthiest hedges are stated to have a slight A shape that lets the sunlight penetrate through the greeneries all the way down to the roots. It helps in maintaining the healthy growth of stems and roots.

If you have previously trimmed the hedge with the bottom narrower than the top, then have it reshaped in the summer season when it’ll be in full leaves.

You should also have fast-growing hedges reshaped in July and September and the evergreen hedges in the late summer.

Step 3: Guiding the tool

It is essential that you guide the hedge trimmer with both of your hands when you actually start the trimming work. Kick off with the slowest speed setting until you become familiar with the vibration and motion of the blades. If you wish to maintain a square top hedge, then have the tool glided side to side along the top until you level it.

If you want to take unwanted growth out of the sides, then glide the trimmer from bottommost to the topmost of the hedge. Avoid cleaning inward toward the bottom since it can destroy the shape.

Rounded tops and corners

Have the hedge trimmed with slightly a stroke upwards from the top for rounded tops and corners. Slope the tool gently away from yourself till you achieve the desired shape. Repeat the steps for every rounded head or corner.

Straight lines

It is pretty hard to measure straight lines with your eyes for the trimming work. The majority of the hedge owners prefer using strings since it warrants to draw perfect straight lines. Hold strings on any side of the hedge with two woods or canes before you guide the blades along the lines. This way, you can get the shape you desire. 

Step 4: Eliminate excess growth within the hedge

After you are done with shaping the outside of the hedge, it becomes easier for you to see excess growth and twisted branches within the hedge. As a result, you can thin them out with ease.

Put on safety gloves and trim inside the hedge with manual hedge shears to prune the unwanted twigs out. Make sure that you cut the dead branches off so you can promote healthy hedge growth.

Step 5: Sweeping up when you are done

With a lawn rake, collect all the trimmed leaves, dead branches, and twigs into a wheelbarrow or a bag. Roll everything down to the curb for bagging the wastes in biodegradable paper lawn waste bags. This way, you can avoid carrying full bags which can be a hassle.

Safety Concerns

The hedge trimmer is pretty easy and fun to use. It is even able to cut with lightning speed. But the downside is that it is also stated to be potentially dangerous. That’s why you need to be very careful while operating the tool.

If you don’t know how to keep yourself safe, go through some tips provided below:

  • Make sure to use an appropriate extension cord with a sufficient wire thickness.
  • Check if the cord has enough allowance to help you get the trimming job done with sufficient movement.
  • Always keep the extension cord behind.
  • Keep the trimmer in front.
  • Never use an electric model when it’s monsoon.
  • The best time for hedge trimming is basically at the early hours of the day.
  • The clothes you choose to wear has to be tight-fitting and resilient.
  • Make sure that the clothes offer protection.
  • Also, make sure that the clothes you will wear for hedge trimming do not snag on branches during operation.
  • Always wear sturdy shoes that are no slipcover to protect your feet.

Find tips on electric hedge trimmer usage below:

More Reading

Can you use a hedge trimmer to cut branches?

You can not cut branches with a hedge trimmer. However, it can cut very small and delicate branches.

What is the difference between a hedge trimmer and a hedge cutter?

Hedge trimmers trims/dresses hedge whearas hedge cutter does heavy tasks.

Can I use a chainsaw as a hedge trimmer?

You can you it but you will not get the perfect precision as a hedge trimmer provides.

Closing Words

Hedge trimmer is an inseparable tool for lawn and garden. Using them properly may be a great help for a fantastic lawn or garden. Learn the art and science of how to use a hedge trimmer and create the lawn you love to visualize.