When do I clip, trim & prune my hedge? Winter and Summer.

Winter is generally the best time to prune something and it sure is the best time to trim a young hedge.

Hedges must be clipped and sometimes pruned. Fruit trees need some pruning to maintain the best crops. Older ornamental trees can need pruning if they are damaged or get in the way.

Why is winter usually the “best” time to prune and clip your hedge or tree?

During winter, pruning above ground will cut off the least energy from the plants.
The plant’s sugary sap is stored underground, in the roots.

Mature hedges are good to trim in summer.
Mature hedges that flower are best trimmed after the flower or seeds have fallen.

Beech and Hornbeam are clipped in summer to encourage them to keep their autumn leaves all winter.

Cherry fruit and flowering cherry trees are an exception, they should be pruned in summer to avoid the risk of disease.

But all hedges or other trees and fruit are best trimmed in winter. Dead, diseased or damaged branches should be removed as and when they appear.

What to do with plants that produce suckers….

Some hedging plants and trees produce suckers (new plants that grow up from the parent plant’s root system). Sometimes this is bad – because the sucker is the same as the rootstock, but not the tree as the plant is grafted. An example here would be a named rose variety that is grafted onto a dog rose rootstock.

Sometimes this is good – because you want a bushier plant. Rugosa roses make a bushier hedge because they sucker.

Here is a list of trees and shrubs that sucker. As usual it is not exhaustive, so feel free to comment and add. But if you don’t babies sprouting around your plants these are the ones to avoid.  You can reduce suckering in grafted trees (and an awful lot of trees are grafted – all named apple trees for example) by not damaging their root systems. If you do see a sucker it is best to “tear” it out – cutting it back just means it will try again.

Suckering trees include

Amelanchiers
Acacias
Alders
Cherries
Elms
Limes
Poplars
Willows

You can find all these in our Standard Trees section

Suckering shrubs are:

Bamboos (just as a caution – we don’t sell them…. yet)
Blackthorn
Dogwoods
Elaeagnus
Forsythias
Laurels
Philadelphus (mock Orange)
Ramanas Rose
Viburnums

You can find all these in the section of the Ashridge Trees website on Bare-rooted Hedging and Trees