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Why Hedge Trimmers are Terrible? Hand Pruning is Better!

It's faster, cheaper and much healthier for your plants.

You know, even though hedge trimmers – or as some folks call them, power shears or motor shears – are all the rage these days, they might not always be the ideal choice for pruning your shrubs. These gadgets can be a bit tricky to control, making it hard to be precise about what you're cutting and how you're doing it. Now, let me tell you, going the old-fashioned route with hand pruning can really pay off. Not only will it save you time and money in the long run, but it’ll also keep your beloved plants in tip-top shape.

And here’s something I'm proud to say – at Veisa, we do our best to use hand pruning as much as possible. We even take extra care by disinfecting the blades after every cut. Why? Well, we want to make sure we don't spread any disease and inadvertently start trimming other customers' hedges or flowers, you know? It's all about giving your greenery the TLC they deserve while keeping everything healthy and thriving. So, let's keep those shears sharp and those plants happy!

What's the problem with hedge trimmers?

You know, it's surprising how many folks overlook the fact that hedge trimmers can wreak havoc on plants. They have this knack for creating split, jagged ends on branches and even cutting leaves right in half. Sure, they might seem like the quicker, more efficient option compared to hand pruning, but let me tell you, their convenience comes at a cost.

Using hedge trimmers can seriously dent the health of your plants, not to mention your wallet and time. So, while they might promise speed, they often deliver nothing but trouble in the long run. Stick to hand pruning, my friend, and watch your plants flourish without any unnecessary damage or hassle.

In essence, hedge trimmers lack precision, often leading to the inadvertent removal of vital buds at the branch ends. These buds play a crucial role in regulating growth; without them, something known as "the hydra effect" occurs. Typically, these buds emit a chemical signal that instructs other buds on the branch not to sprout. However, when a bud is mistakenly snipped off, a rapid burst of growth ensues, resulting in the proliferation of new branches that demand continual trimming throughout the growing season.

Thankfully, hand pruning your shrubs is both simple to master and offers numerous advantages, such as:

Reduced Effort

Properly hand-pruned shrubs require maintenance only once every year or two, compared to the 5-6 times per year needed with hedge trimmers.

Time Saving

Cost Effective

Enhanced Plant Health

How to get started with hand pruning

Don’t let the thought of hand pruning overwhelm you. Once you grasp these fundamental cuts, you'll be well on your way to becoming a shrubbery expert in next to no time. So, where should you start? The crucial first step for successful hand pruning lies in selecting the right tool. Ensure you begin with a sharp, high-quality pair of pruners. This ensures your cuts are crisp, allowing the plants to heal swiftly.

With your pruners ready, it's time to embark on your first cut. Here are three basic cuts you can employ to prune your shrubs:

Start by Identifying Main Branches That Protrude

Trace the main branch back to the first side lateral branching off it. This side lateral is where you'll make your cut, just above the notch where it sprouts from the main branch, preserving the side lateral.

For the Second Type of Cut

The Final Pruning Cut

Now that you've mastered the basic pruning cuts, it's time to put them into action. Before you commence, establish a goal. Pruning without a clear goal is akin to constructing a house without blueprints. Goals vary widely; one common request from our clients is to refine the shrub's form. To achieve this, stand approximately 10 feet away from the shrub, blur your vision slightly, and pinpoint the branch that disrupts the form the most. Trim it using one of the three cuts mentioned earlier. Repeat this process as necessary.

Typically, 10-20 cuts suffice for most shrubs. However, for a tighter form or a more traditional landscape appearance, you might need closer to 50-100 cuts. Regardless of your goal, employing these three cuts minimizes harm to your plant and reduces future maintenance compared to hedge trimmers. So, enjoy the process, and don't forget to take a moment to admire the plant's beauty!

Video: How to Hand Prune Shrubs

Learning the art of pruning can indeed be challenging without witnessing these three types of cuts in action. That's why we've put a brief video highlighting the significance of hand pruning, along with visual demonstrations of these fundamental pruning techniques

If you find yourself with lingering questions about pruning, don't hesitate to reach out to us via email, and we'll be sure to respond promptly.

We've illustrated how hand pruning your plants is a wise decision. By investing time in mastering proper pruning techniques, you not only save yourself time and money but also ensure the continued health of your shrubs throughout the year.

What's Your Pruning Preference?

  • I prefer hand pruning for better control and plant health.

  • I use hedge trimmers for speed and convenience.

  • I’m undecided and open to trying both methods.

(Credit to Leaf & Limb for demonstrating these techniques in action).

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