The electric hedge trimmer is the most commonly used in the UK. While petrol and battery operated hedge trimmers are available, electric trimmers are popular, due to their relatively low cost and ease of use. Using a hedge trimmer is relatively simple and generally just requires some common sense.
Before you start
First off check the weather. Never cut your bushes or hedges in the rain. This is especially important when using an electric hedge trimmer. This is basic safety advice when using any electric power tool, not just hedge trimmers – remember water and electricity does not mix!
If the weather is fine to work in, check your equipment is in good working order and not damaged in any way. If your hedge trimmer is damaged you should either have it fixed by a trained professional or buy a new one. Hedge trimmers are readily available to buy in the UK in most retailers or garden centres. If using an electric hedge trimmer ensure you have enough cable to reach where you need to go. If the standard cable that comes with the hedge trimmer is not long enough, you can attach an extension lead. Never use more than one extension cable at one time.
Next check that the environment you are about to work in. Is it safe? Are there children or pets running around the garden? If so, rope or mark off an area or safe zone so that they cannot enter where you will be using the hedge trimmer. This will prevent them knocking you when cutting your hedges and hurting you or themselves.
Ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear. The clothing you chose to wear should allow you to move freely, be sturdy and tight fitting. This should provide some protection if required and be out the way, allowing you to see clearly where you are cutting and to avoid them getting snagged on branches as you cut. You should also wear study non-slip shoes to provide you with a strong footing when using your hedge trimmer. Goggles and gloves are also recommended.
The last thing you need to do is go outside and pick out any dead leaves or debris that may be stuck in your hedge. This will stop debris from jamming your hedge trimmer and make cutting a whole lot easier.
How to cut your hedge
Now you and your hedge trimmer are ready to start work. Move towards your hedge and stand a comfortable distance away gaining a shore footing. If you are using an electric hedge trimmer ensure the cord is behind you and out of the way. By cutting away from the power source it will ensure the cable is always trailing away from you.
Holding the hedge trimmer in two hands, turn on your hedge trimmer and begin cutting the hedge or bush from the bottom up in a circular motion. This should help sweep the branches away from the hedge and allow you to see where you are cutting next. Work at a speed that is comfortable and take your time. Accidents often happen when people rush things.
If your hedges are large or require a lot of trimming, you may prefer to tidy as you go. By placing a sheet on the floor before you start, allows you to easily collect the cuttings in one place. You can then easily pick them up to dispose of them in your garden waste bin, or add them to your compost heap.
When you get round to cutting the top of the hedge, hold the hedge trimmer straight out in front of you and cut using a sideway motion to get a nice tidy finish.
If cutting taller hedges and are using a hedge trimmer with a telescopic pole like the Flymo SabreCut, you will need to extend the pole to the appropriate height and tilt the blade to a 90 degree angle. When using this take care and avoid any falling debris as you are cutting.
After cutting your hedges it is important that you clean your hedge trimmer. During cutting it is likely that sap and debris from the bushes has become stuck in the blades and teeth. Leaving this debris in the hedge trimmer will make it more difficult and less efficient for your trimmer to cut the hedges next you need to do it.
Turn off the machine and place it on a suitable work surface. Gentle remove any loose debris and, clean the blade following the manufacturers guidance. If you are using a petrol hedge trimmer you may be required to lubricate the teeth with appropriate oil. Always follow the manufacturer’s advice when cleaning the product to maintain its warranty.