Maintain a weed free root zone.
Water establishing plants in a prolonged dry spell.
Only cut when the bird nesting season is over.
Forming the shape
Initial pruning should be with sharp secateurs. As the hedge thickens use hand shears. When the shape is formed electric or petrol hedge trimmers. It goes without saying that all blades should be sharp and clean. Sap builds up and dries on blades, this then results in a poor cut.
Showing up as shredded cut ends that brown off in the wind.
Straight sides and an even flat top are the easiest to cut.
If you let the hedge grow above 1.8m tall then consider tapering the top to a point. This allows cutting from the ground, saving time and effort with a ladder.
At the end of the day you are the one looking at the hedge, the shape you form it is your choice.
Deciding on ultimate height
What do you want to screen? From where?
Sit in the garden and decide on your sight lines to block out undesirable views.
When to cut
Evergreens in very early spring; deciduous species when dormant.
Never during the nesting season. Avoid cutting during freezing conditions.
How to cut
Stay firmly on the ground cutting as much as possible. Once you go above ground level onto steps stability becomes an issue and the propensity for an accident increases.
Always make sure steps are well grounded and do not stretch to reach and cut the last section; move the steps. We don’t all have access to a mobile elevated work platform!