How to Prune Hedges to Grow Fuller

Many homeowners are stumped when it comes to finding the perfect techniques for pruning their hedges so that they will grow fuller. There are no secrets, just solid techniques for doing the job right. As you’re aware, hedges are aesthetically pleasing and enhance both the look and market value of your property.

When it comes to pruning your hedges in order to make them fuller, there are several factors that come into play. These include the best time of the year to trim, the amount, proper tools and equipment as well as what cuts to make.

After you read this article, you will have a strong knowledge of what to do in order to make your hedges look amazing and fuller.

By pruning hedges the right way, you stimulate the growth of new branches, which in turn reduces the risk of hedges and shrubs being infested with pests and diseases. Also, your hedges will be bushier and tougher.

When should you trim your hedges?

There are specific seasons when arborists advise homeowners to do their trimming and pruning. This way, you will get the best results.

It is generally recommended that you do your pruning in the late winter or early spring.

Between March and May, the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. Furthermore, plants lose considerably less sap during this time of the year and therefore will regrow quicker.

Any time of the year is permissible to trim branches that are withered or infested by pests. Also, there are some plant species you can prune in the late spring or early summer.

Get rid of damaged branches

This is the first step you must take before beginning the process of making your hedges fuller. It isn’t uncommon for hedges to have damaged, dead or diseased branches, so get rid of them. This helps to make the hedges bushier and fuller.

One word of advice: if you are removing dead wood, do so carefully in order to avoid accidentally peeling off the bark of healthy parts. When doing this, use a sharp pruner or pruning saw.


Yes, there is no shortage of techniques you can use to make your hedges fuller. These techniques are tried and proven methods used by both professional arborists and middle-class homeowners like yourself.

After you’ve removed any dead or diseased limbs, begin at the terminal buds, which are located at the tip of each branch of a shrub or hedge. With a pair of pruning shears, start making cuts away from the terminal buds that are at a 45-degree angle, ¼ inch above the next highest bud.

Every ten minutes or so, stop pruning and walk around the hedge to see what the overall shape is. If you are still not satisfied with the results, cut the tall branches back more so that the hedge or shrub is even.

Look or two or three branches that have heavy top growth and get rid of them entirely, cutting at a 45-degree angle, ¼ above their bases. It is important to remove these branches because they block sunlight from reaching the middle of the shrub.

Follow up within a few weeks to see if the hedge has produced any new shoots from the pruning cuts. When the new growth gets to between six and 12 inches in height, remove one-half if it. You need to do this so that new lateral branches will grow. Afterward, cut back whatever new shoots remain, just above a bud. This encourages lateral branching and thicker growth.

Rejuvenating your shrubs

There are various rejuvenation pruning techniques that can be employed to make your hedges fuller. If you have overgrown or extremely haggard-looking hedges or shrubs, I recommend cutting out one-third of the woody stems.

The best time of the year to do this is in late spring, just before new growth has a chance to blossom. Each selected branch needs to be cut to a height of three inches above the ground. Use a pair of lopping shears or pruning saw to do this. Remember to make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, just above an outward facing bud or growth node. Within three weeks, you should see new growth appearing.

New shoots will inevitably come out of the pruning cuts. In order to keep progress going, you will need to cut roughly one-half of these new shoots as soon as they grow more than six inches. When that is done, the remaining shoots have to be trimmed back to varying heights.

Thinning is vital as it opens up the canopy to sunlight and air circulation, thus ensuring that the center of the shrub will have new growth.

Trim your hedges on a regular basis

Finally, it is advised to trim shrubs and hedges on an annual basis. Yes, maintenance must be done constantly to ensure that they do not become once again overgrown. Have a pruning saw or shears handy to get rid of that unsightly dead, broken or diseased branches.

Once a year, remove one-quarter or even a third of these branches. This encourages the thick and healthy growth of the interiors. Also, cut back branches that have grown past the desired perimeter.

Decide on How Much to Trim

Like any major project, before you set out to prune hedges, you must have a game plan, so to speak. In other words, it is very important to know exactly how much you will be cutting. Uncontrolled trimming or trimming more than what is necessary can seriously damage a hedge.

Think about the exact dimensions you want your hedges or shrubs to be. Cut only overgrown branches or stems so that the overall plant isn’t hurt very much.

How old are your hedges?

This is another factor that much is taken into consideration. Not only the age of your plants but species as well. Young plants require minimal cutting and shaping. Older shrubs require a great deal more trimming and pruning.


Whether you’ll be trimming a little or a lot, it is crucial to follow these techniques as well as other advice given in the article. As always, use protective gear when working with power tools or sharp implements.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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