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     Marijke & Piet.

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Trimming the Thuja occidentalis hedgerow


The Thuja occidentalis “Braband” hedgerown in the left garden was planted only two years ago, in July 2008.

That first year this 30 meter (100 feet) long hedgerow of 100 evergreen thuja conifers was left alone. Then the following year, in 2009, we have leveled the top twigs and done a first trimming of the side edges.

This formal hedge needs regular pruning to retain its shape. Here the battery operated electric shears (actually a box-shears) is great to trim the sides, after the rought cut is done with a hedge shears. The garden shears and hand pruner are used to clip the top. Some trunks and thick branches where too high and even asked for a saw.

Later, to level the hedge I will place a bamboo stake at both ends of the hedgerow. Attach a string in between the two stakes, so as to level the hedgerow and gain the desired height. For now, as it is not yet perfectly straight, I use my body-length to determine the hight and level, that is the point that I can just reach. As I want to be able to trim the top edge without help of a ladder, this is the desired hight.

thuja-occidentalis-streetview-cotton-sheetsIMG_3916   thuja-occidentalis-backsideIMG_3912

This photo shows the backside of the hedgerow, that is to us. It is taken in the garden of our neighbors and clearly shows the full length.

The strip of soil in which the hedgerow is planted is covered with bark chips  mulch. In addition, the front garden part is adjoined by a gravel area. For both these surfaces it is very cumbersome, if not impossible to remove the trimming debris if you just let it fall. Hence, like with most pruning and trimming where we use plastic bags, we cover the ground before we clip. Here we use a few cotton-sheets. This gives an action radius of 5 to 6 meter (16 to 20 feet) per covering. Covering of the ground on the other side is not required as there the debris falls on the lawn from where it is easier to rake to collect it.

Related: The left side garden compartment, Miscellaneous plants Hedgerows, Training, clipping and pruning.