How to Trim Hedges with Shears: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Hedges can be beautiful additions to your garden, adding a touch of privacy and elegance. However, if you don’t take proper care of them, they can quickly turn into an eyesore. To keep your hedges looking neat and tidy, you need to trim and prune them regularly. 

The most common way of doing this is with shears – but not all shears are created equal! In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about how to trim hedges with shears so that your garden looks its best. 

Why Do You Need to Trim Your Hedges

Before you learn how to trim hedges with shears, you need to understand why it’s important.

Avoid Unsightly Growth 

Hedges can quickly become overgrown if left untrimmed for a long period of time. This can lead to an unsightly look that detracts from the beauty of your garden and property. 

Regular trimming helps to keep your hedges looking neat and tidy, and prevents them from growing too large or becoming too wild-looking. If you maintain your hedges properly, then you will have a garden that looks great all year round! 

Protect Against Disease 

Regularly trimming your hedges is also essential for protecting them from diseases and pests. If left untrimmed, dead or diseased branches can accumulate in the center of the plant, blocking sunlight and airflow which can cause further damage to the plant’s health. 

Pruning away these damaged branches will help ensure that the hedge stays healthy by allowing more light and airflow throughout the entire bush. This will also make it easier for you to spot any signs of disease at an early stage so that you can take appropriate action before it spreads throughout the entire hedge.  

Improve Your Hedge’s Structure 

Trimming your hedge regularly will help improve its structure as well as its overall appearance. Regular pruning encourages stronger growth by removing weak or unhealthy branches while encouraging new growth in other areas of the plant. 

Pruning also helps create a uniform shape which not only looks better but also helps increase air circulation which is essential for healthy plants. Properly trimmed hedges will be less likely to suffer from storm damage due to their improved structural integrity. 

In addition, if you are trying to achieve a certain shape with your hedge such as a square, triangle or oval then regular trimming will help you achieve this goal without having to use artificial supports such as wireframes or stakes which can be unsightly in some gardens. 

Trimming the Hedges with Hedge Shears | How to Do It

1. Choose the Right Shears 

The first step in learning how to trim hedges with shears is choosing the right tool for the job. When it comes to hedge trimming shears, there are two main options – manual or electric.

Manual shears are more affordable but require more effort from the user; whereas electric shears are more expensive but make the job easier and faster. Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference as well as budget constraints when deciding which type of shear is best for you and your garden. 

2. Prepare Your Hedge 

Before you start using your hedge trimmer, it’s important to do some preparation work first. This includes cleaning up any debris such as leaves and twigs that may have fallen onto the hedge during winter or autumn months; trimming off any dead branches, and removing any weeds that may be growing on or around the hedge. 

Doing these steps beforehand will help ensure a clean cut and reduce strain on the blades of your trimmer while in use.  

3. Start Trimming 

Once you have chosen the right tool for the job and properly prepared your hedge, it’s time to start cutting! When trimming hedges with shears, it’s important to remember that less is more – try not to remove too much at once as this could damage or even kill your hedge over time (especially if it’s a young one).

Start by cutting small sections at a time, moving slowly along each side until both sides are evened out. If needed, go back over each side again for a more precise finish. If you want a perfectly straight edge then use a string line or tape measure as a guide when cutting – this will help ensure that everything is even on both sides of the hedge line.  

4. Maintenance Tips 

  • To keep your tools in top condition always clean them after every use by wiping away dirt/debris from blades using an old cloth or paper towel before storing away safely in a dry place when finished (outdoor shed/garage). 
  • Additionally, lubricate blades after every few uses with oil/wax-based lubricant – this will help prevent rusting & prolong the longevity & effectiveness of tools over time! 
  • Finally, sharpening blades regularly with sharpening stone/file depending on the type (manual vs electric) being used-this ensures crisp clean cuts without tearing/ripping foliage which can cause damage & delay the growth process in some cases!  

Sharpening Your Hedge Shears 

Once you’ve been using your hedge shears for a while, it’s likely that the blades will become dull. Fortunately, it’s actually quite easy to sharpen your hedge shear blades at home with a few simple tools. 

All you’ll need is some coarse sandpaper or a whetstone, a pair of pliers, some lubricating oil (like WD-40), and some protective gloves (just in case). 

  • Start by removing the screws from the handles of the hedge shear using the pliers then carefully remove the blade from the handles. 
  • Once removed you can start sanding or honing down the blade using either a piece of coarse sandpaper or a whetstone depending on what type of material your blade is made out of (some are made out of steel while others may be made out of carbon steel). 
  • As you’re working on one side make sure not to forget about the other side – both sides should be evenly honed down until they’re nice and sharp again. 
  • When finished reattach the blade back onto its handle making sure that all screws are tight before testing them out on your hedges!  


Trimming hedges with sheers can be tricky business if done incorrectly – but luckily there are some easy tips and tricks that anyone can follow! 

By following our simple guide above – choosing the right tool for the job; preparing your hedge beforehand; starting small when cutting, and maintaining your tools regularly – you should have no trouble keeping up with regular maintenance tasks like trimming hedges with ease! 

With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure that your gardens stay looking their best year round!  All in all, learning how to trim hedges with sheers isn’t rocket science – just make sure that you take care of them properly through regular maintenance tasks like cutting back branches before they become too long or unruly! This way they’ll look great all year round! Good luck!