Best time of year to shear cedar hedge

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by janetdoyle, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I need to know the best time of year for shearing a cedar hedge -- partially sheared on sides but the strata landscaper has not done the tops, and as I may be supervising him in the future I wanted to confirm the best time of year for carrying out this job. Is December-February an okay time? Will it harm the cedars in any way by carrying this out in mid-winter in the Pacific Northwest [Vancouver Island]?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Early summer.
     
  3. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Strata? If you're on council please confirm your budget and read the fine print of your contract.
    If your contract stipulates one hedge trim per year, don't expect extra.
    Discuss options with your contractor before they submit a new contract for next season.
    Don't rely on a property manager to confirm concerns.


    The contractor should have trimmed the top at the same time they did the sides.
    Make sure they trim all of the edges too ie: where the sides meet the top etc.
    Otherwise you get bits sticking out from there later in the year.
    We do about a one inch wide cut along the entire perimeter edges.

    If they don't trim all areas of the hedge, then the growth hormone (auxin) that is in the new growing tips, will move into those areas that weren't trimmed. Then the untrimmed areas grow like crazy.
    Without seeing your hedge, I will wager that whatever employee did the work, didn't trim the top at all!


    As for maintaining a hedge, I prefer to do it any-time in the spring or very early summer.
    We may also do a second trim in the fall, but it all comes down to the budget and what the contract states!

    I prefer the spring because that's when the new growth is active and we can control it better. In the fall the energy is going towards the plants roots.

    So, in my opinion it doesn't matter when you trim a cedar hedge. Just don't do it during the hottest part of the summer.
     
  4. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Wow, thanks for both interesting pieces of advice. Our strata has been a bit of a greenhorn [odd word in this context, sorry, couldn't think of anything else other than "a babe in the woods"] as far as dealing with landscapers goes... it's not a new strata, but the rather innocent souls trying to deal with contractors do have their problems. And the landscaper network around here seems to have its own firm grasp of how to handle stratas!

    Well, next year if I am landscaping rep I'll have one remaining year in this landscaper's contract to work with and I'll have to watch the text carefully. And remedy the situation the next year... if we can afford to, that is. This landscaper does superb grass work, but is a dud with the shrubs [I didn't hire him]. A question for David Payne above, of Terra Nova -- in your experience have you seen any split contracts, or dual contracts, with two different firms doing grass and shrubs/hedges?

    Nice to hear from you, Ron, you have responded to my questions before and always been wise. This forum is lucky to have your participation...
     
  5. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Dual contracts are not the norm.
    The only one I can think of is with the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation.
    This is the Subsidized-Social housing wing of the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
    They have dozens of complexes around the Lower Mainland (Vancouver B.C.)

    It gets a little complicated...they're very particular about things, and it's very political.

    The MVHC tenders a large number of contracts for just the annual lawn maintenance. (Cut, trim, blow, leaf clean-up, fertilizing, liming, aerating, edging, power raking, etc.) Exactly what you do with them is site specific and to their specifications.

    The shrub and tree work goes out as a different tender and all companies bidding on the grass cutting are obligated to calculate and report their hourly costs for performing these other tasks. That is: tree care, hedge trimming, power washing and other landscape related jobs stipulated in the MVHC's extensive specs.

    Then the MVHC gets to cherry pick whoever they want to do these other, or contingent tasks. They don't always pick the lowest costing service provider.

    So, the site could have two different companies doing lawns and hedges.
    Even when both companies are fully capable of and willing to do both tasks equally as well.

    Normally, a landscape company contracting to strata's is able to provide the full array of services themselves.

    If your landscaping contractor can already do a good job on the lawns, it's time they strengthened the weak link in their crew and hired a hedge specialist that will do a good job. Their companies services have to be diversified and professional to properly service a strata property.

    Hedges are a tough job to do. Particularly if you haven't been trained to begin with!
    (This would contravene WorkSafeBC-WCB regulations, Due dilligence.)

    I see alot of really bad cedar hedge jobs. Tree and ornamental shrub care are other specialties along with Integrated Pest Management-IPM.

    Perhaps the deficiencies in your current contractors abilities can be addressed during a private walk about on the property?
    Just a friendly site inspection so the strata's landscaping rep. and the contractor are on the same page.

    If the problem is still there after next season, then send out your Request for Proposals.

    It's helpful if the strata has a list of tasks to be done, so that all companies bidding on a contract have the same playing field to base their estimates on.
    Be prepared to do a walk about/site inspection with each prospective company.

    Look for Landscape companies with experienced and educated employees.

    The BC Landscape and Nursery Association-BCLNA, has an on-line list of member companies.
    This will show you who is Canadian Landscape Industry Certified-in different specialty areas. ie: CLT, CLP, CLD, CHT.

    We now have top level - Red Seal Journeyman Landscapers/Horticulturists with the ITA-Industry Training authority of BC.
    The ISA-International Society of Arboriculturists has an on-line list of tree care professionals.
    There are other qualifications people will have.

    In conclusion: if clients want a better job done, they should hire a professional landscaping company with the credentials and the tools.
    And please be willing to pay them a decent living.
     
  6. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Ve-e-rr-ry interesting, David. Will save this to share with my possible future fellow Council members. Here in the suburbs of Victoria, there is less attention to qualifications and standards, and the previous Councils of this strata have all gone with outfits charging less than the premium ones, that's the problem -- ours is a nice piece of land with more land [and trees, and so many shrubs and hedges] around the townhouses than most, way more than usual, so it's expensive to maintain at prime level like the above -- I can see, owing to the mid-range retirement income type of ownership here that they have worked to keep all their contracts at the less-generous payment levels. Some other stratas usually larger ones are less worried about cost. We have tried to get the landscaper up to speed on the shrubs, I'll try harder if I do the role for Council... he's just not trained for it, has been a golf course grass person [our grass is gorgeous] did some stupid things we have all complained about [ like hacking at shrubs with a gas-powered hedge shearer, but not getting all the hedges sheared with it! ] that I think he's been force-fed some of the info regarding, but the present Council rep is not knowledgeable or tough-enough on ... both are nice guys, there may be some hope.
     
  7. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    I encourage clients to avoid spring/early summer shearing as hedges are preferred nesting grounds for many species of birds. Disturbing nests is much less desirable than shearing at a less than ideal time. Do avoid shearing in times of high heat and drought.
     

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