What Can You Cut With Hedge Trimmers?

One garden tool you should always have in your collection is a powered hedge trimmer. You might think these are just for trimming hedges, shrubs, etc., but they can do so much more! So beyond the obvious uses, what exactly can you cut with a hedge trimmer?

Powered hedge trimmers can be used for a variety of uses besides their primary role of trimming and maintaining hedges. These include cutting small tree branches, keeping bushes in shape and even trimming tall woody weeds.

To find out some more uses for hedge cutters you may not have thought of, keep reading.

What Can A Hedge Trimmer Be Used For?

The conventional role of hedge trimmers of course is to maintain and shape hedges, but they are capable of handling various other yard duties as well. They can effectively manage different plant types, including small tree branches, shrubs, and, to a degree, weeds.

You can also use your powered clipper to help you quickly deadhead plants and cut back growth before winter.

The important thing is to check your user manual before setting out with your trimmer so that you know its capabilities and don’t end up trying to cut through something too thick. 

Can You Use A Hedge Trimmer To Cut Tree Branches?

Hedge trimmers can certainly be used to cut small tree branches, however, there is a limit to the size of branches that hedge trimmers can comfortably handle. 

This brings us to the next question:

How Big A Branch Can A Hedge Trimmer Cut?

Hedge trimmers are typically comfortable dealing with branches up to half an inch in diameter, which is roughly the thickness of your pinkie finger for many people

However, more powerful models can tackle branches up to 3/4 inch (around 20mm). 

The usual rule of thumb is that if the branch fits in the gap between the cutting blades then it will be able to cut through it. Sometimes you may find that if it’s a little too large to fit you can gnaw away at it with the trimmer first and get through it that way, but you should never force it.

If you find yourself faced with anything larger, it’s time to call in the heavy artillery—like a chainsaw or tree pruner. Attempting to cut thicker or tougher branches may result in damage to the trimmer so pay attention to make sure it’s not struggling.

Can You Use A Hedge Trimmer To Cut Bushes?

Absolutely! Hedge trimmers are perfectly adapted for dealing with bushes. They excel at shaping bushes and maintaining a neat, orderly appearance. 

From rose bushes to boxwoods and azaleas, hedge trimmers can handle them all. Do remember to trim bushes at the right time of year to ensure healthy growth.

The best time is generally during the period when the plant is dormant such as late winter. You can usually also trim shrubs after they’ve flowered during the growing season to keep them in check.

With a bit of practice, you can even learn how to trim bushes round

Can A Hedge Trimmer Cut Weeds?

While hedge trimmers can technically cut weeds, they are not the most efficient tool for this job. They work well on tall, woody weeds that are too tall for a lawnmower and too thick for a string trimmer. But for smaller, garden-variety weeds, a weed trimmer or good old-fashioned hand weeding is a better choice.

If you’re in a pinch though and need to cut down large areas of knee-high weeds, then a hedge cutter will definitely do the job.

Other Applications For Hedge Trimmers

Beyond traditional uses, these versatile tools can also be handy for several other tasks around the yard such as:

Trimming Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses can quickly become overwhelming without regular trims. Hedge clippers, with their wide cutting area and sharp blades, are an excellent tool for this task.

Managing Dead Flowers

Hedge trimmers can also be used for deadheading spent flowers. This is an efficient way to keep your flower beds neat and encourage new growth, just be careful not to cut off new flowers at the same time!

Creating Artistic Topiary

A more creative use for your hedge cutters might be topiary, the art of shaping shrubs and trees into ornamental shapes. 

If you’re interested in creating simple shapes or geometric designs in your hedges, your hedge trimmer is the perfect tool as the long blade allows you to easily cut even surfaces. 

However, for more intricate shapes, specialized topiary shears might be required.

Maintaining Ground Cover Plants

Ground cover plants such as ivy or creeping juniper can be challenging to manage. While not their typical use, hedge trimmers can be employed to maintain these low-lying plants and keep them in check. Just make sure to adjust your trimming technique to avoid damaging the plant.

Tidying Up Vines

Vines can quickly get out of hand without proper management. Here again, these tools can play a role. They can be used to trim back vine growth from walls, fences, and trellises, keeping them from becoming too unruly.

Cutting Back Perennials

Certain perennial plants benefit from being cut back after they’ve finished blooming. This helps to keep them healthy and encourages further growth. Hedge clippers can speed up this task, especially when dealing with large areas containing many plants.

Prepping The Garden for Winter

In preparation for winter, many gardeners like to cut back their plants. Using a powered garden clipper can make this task quicker and easier, whether you’re dealing with ornamental grasses, perennials, shrubs, or even small trees.

These are just a few of the many ways you can use hedge trimmers beyond what they were originally made for. 

Remember, though, that safety is paramount. Always read the owner’s manual thoroughly and follow all safety instructions to avoid accidents and ensure that you are using the tool correctly. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, hedge trimmers are versatile tools that can accomplish much more than their name implies. From trimming hedges and shaping bushes to managing small tree branches, ornamental grasses, and dead flowers, they’ve got it covered. 

Nevertheless, remember their limitations and always prioritize safety. This tool, when used effectively and safely, can be a real game-changer in your yard care routine.

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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