Hedges: Is it too late to significantly trim hedge now? (September 13, 2008)

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by TomHarris, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. TomHarris

    TomHarris Member

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    I have a ten foot hedge that is becoming unruly, especially at the top, and I would like to have a contractor trim the top considerably, bring it down about a foot and a half and leveling it off. As it is September 13th, is this too late in the year to do this trimming? Or would it not damage the hedge?

    Here is an image of the sort of hedge it is (I understand from my postings here two years ago, that this is a "Thuja occidentalis"):

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=11308&d=1144554685

    You folks were very helpful last time - hope you can help me here too.

    BTW, the neighbor in question from two years ago got harder and harder to deal with until I stood up to him and told him I would take legal action against him if he killed my hedge. He finally backed down, met with me, showing the trimming he wanted to do, then compromised enough that things were agreed to and the hedge is still doing fine (although a fair amount of it went brown and fell off when he put in a swimming pool that covered (and probably cut off) about 40% of the roots).

    Tom Harris
    Ottawa
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What you cut off will now stay cut off until next year, with not much re-growth likely before then. So it's a matter of what you want to look at all winter. Cutting back into bare wood, if that is what the height lowering will do is the same problem regardless of timing - a "dead zone" is created that the hedge will be slow to re-furnish, if it ever does due to the fact that unlike broad-leaved hedges most* coniferous ones do not sprout readily from bare branch sections. This limitation prevents these from being managed as casually as broad-leaved hedges. If it becomes impossible to maintain a coniferous hedge within a given space it may be necessary to take it out and start over if you wish to avoid having an increasingly ugly feature on your place.

    *Yew is an exception
     
  3. TomHarris

    TomHarris Member

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    Thanks, Ron - so, it sounds like trimming is fine as long as I alert the contractor to not go too low into the area that would leave a dead patch.

    Tom
     
  4. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Something I consider even more important is the "flowering" time. There are some plants that will bloom (or foliage will be more collorful) on new growth, some on old growth. I always end up contacting my local Extension Center from the State University to find this out, since I have not found a good amature type text or refined my web searching enough yet.
    Also important is the "node" distance - the space inbetween the points where the leaf or other branch attaches. Cut very close to this, just above, and you are fine. Cut too low below the node, and that is where the dead zone starts. I have done some individual trimming on bushes the next spring to help take care of the dead zone. You can also thin the middle, and "fluff" the bush by altering the height by a node or two on a few branches.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008

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