Pruning conifers

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Being evergreens, conifers make ideal hedges. Rather than regular leaves like most other plants, conifers bear scale-like leaves or needles. Those with needles include spruce and pine. Conifers with scale-like leaves are often used as hedges. In these step-by-step instructions, we explain how to prune a conifer hedge.

The best time to prune your conifer is the end of May or the beginning of June. You can prune it again in August to ensure it looks its best through the winter. Don’t do any pruning after September, as conifers are easily damaged by frost.

  1. What tool do you need to prune your conifer?

    An electric hedge trimmer is the best tool for pruning your conifer hedge. You could use a pruning saw to trim thicker branches.

  2. How should you prune your conifer?

    Prune your conifer in such a way that you always leave it with green branches. That’s because the old wood no longer produces shoots. You should not trim more than about 10cm (4 inches) off young shoots. The conifer hedge should be wider at the bottom so that sunlight can reach the largest possible surface area. This will enable the conifer hedge to grow optimally. If you have a freestanding conifer you should regularly cut back a few thicker branches deeper in the hedge. By pruning just above a branch that is pointing inwards, you ensure that the branches grow inwards, which stops the conifer from sagging.


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