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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Mar 18, 2021 2:26:00 PM

Do you have shrubs or hedges that are getting out of control? Regular shrub and hedge trimming can not only help your landscape to maintain a more tidy appearance, it’s also recommended for optimum health.

Trimming shrubs can help them to grow better in areas where they aren’t as full, aids in better flower and fruit production, decreases some disease issues, and can remove old growth that may become problematic.

Shrubs trimmed and pruned correctly

Of course, trimming and pruning shrubs and hedges isn’t as simple as just cutting them back. That’s because different plants have different requirements. We’ve rounded up some of our best tips in this shrub trimming guide to help you determine whether trimming your shrubs and hedges is something you want to do on your own, or whether it’s something best left to the professionals.

Shrub and Hedge Trimming Tips:


1.Trim Shrubs and Hedges At The Right Time

One thing that we find a lot of homeowners don’t realize is that the best times for shrub trimming can really differ. We find that a lot of homeowners get out there on a weekend and just trim everything at once—but that may not be in the best interest of your plants. Azaleas and Rhododendrons, for instance, only have a four-to-six week window of when pruning is appropriate because, after that, they begin to set flower buds for a new season. If you prune them too late, you can ruin the flowering ability of the plant for the coming season. We often have folks ask why they aren’t getting flowers and improperly timing pruning may be the answer.

flowering shrubs with correct pruning

Besides damaging your plant’s flowering potential, a more concerning problem is when improper pruning causes insect or disease trouble. Some plants should not be aggressively pruned while others can tolerate it. Without knowing these varieties, it could potentially cause these other plant health problems.

2. Use the Correct Pruning Equipment

Another area where shrub and hedge trimming can go wrong is in the method used. A lot of homeowners, and even some lawn and landscape companies, will use gas or electric-powered shears on everything. But some shrubs, like boxwood, really need to be trimmed by hand with a precise pruning instrument or you can risk damage. It’s important to know which varieties require hand-trimming and which do not.

3. Manage Clippings Correctly

We also get a lot of questions about what to do with the clippings. Wrap a tarp around the bottom of your trees or shrubs so that you don’t make a huge mess. This is especially important if you just had your mulching done as you don’t want to rake up or blow away the mulch. With the tarp tight around the base of your plant collecting the clippings, you can easily pull the tarp away to transport the debris.

DIY Shrub Trimming vs. Professional Trimming Services

As homeowners begin to understand more about shrub trimming and pruning and what’s involved with it, we often find that they’re shocked it’s not as simple as they originally believed. There are several good reasons why using a shrub trimming service might make better sense than trying to tackle it on your own including the points we’ve discussed like knowing when to trim, knowing how to trim, and dealing with the hassle of removing clippings. Making mistakes can impact the health and potential of your trees and shrubs.

well-trimmed hedges

Questions to Ask About Shrub Trimming Services

If you’re looking at hiring a shrub trimming service and are wondering what questions to ask, here’s a few we’d suggest. Unfortunately, even some professional landscaping services in Northern Virginia do not always know their stuff when it comes to the intricacies of shrub and hedge trimming. But these questions will help you determine whether they do.

  • Do you trim boxwoods or other varieties that may require it by hand?
  • Do you alter your trimming and pruning schedule based on when my various trees and shrubs require it?
  • Do you take time of year into account?

Understanding how a potential landscape company does their trimming will help you to determine whether they take care and have the skill and know-how you want or whether they trim anything and everything with no real regard for the plant’s needs.

While it’s understandable that a lot of landscape maintenance companies aren’t going to have a high-level of expertise when it comes to shrub and hedge trimming, at Rock Water Farm, it’s something that we take pride in. Understanding a plant’s needs comes with many years of horticultural background and hands-on experience and we employ professionals that have just that.

We know that you have trees, shrubs, and hedges on your Northern Virginia property that you care about. If you hire us for your shrub trimming services, we’ll ensure that they’re properly cared for so that you get the most out of them.

If you’d like more information on shrub and hedge trimming for your Aldie, Ashburn, or Leesburg, VA home, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 703-327-1636 so that we can answer any of your questions.

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.