Hedge trimming: When is it allowed?

Garden lovers attach importance to a well-kept design of their natural paradise. This includes the regular trimming of hedges and bushes. We explain when hedge trimming makes sense for the plants and what the legal regulations are.

When is hedge trimming allowed?

You can put your hedge trimming in your diary from the beginning of October to the end of February. According to the Federal Natural Resources Act, it is illegal to “cut or stock” a hedge during the period from March 1 to September 30. This means to make a heavy pruning on living fences, bushes and other woody plants.

The only exception is if the action is to ensure traffic safety and cannot be done at a later date. However, the law allows “careful shape and maintenance pruning” throughout the year.

Why is hedge trimming regulated by law?

To ensure that birds and other animals are undisturbed during the nesting months, hedge trimming is regulated by law
To ensure that birds and other animals are undisturbed during the nesting months, hedge trimming is regulated by law

The regulation was adopted to protect animals, especially birds. At this time of year, they seek safe shelter in hedges and shrubbery for their breeding and nesting sites. You should bear this in mind when making a cosmetic cut and check in advance whether birds have already nested in your hedge.

If birds have chosen your hedge as a nesting site, take it as a compliment and postpone the hedge trimming for a few days to weeks until the young birds have left their nest.

What is the right time for a hedge trim?

With the right hedge trimmer can easily cut all types of hedges
With the right hedge trimmer can easily cut all types of hedges

Most amateur gardeners count on St. John’s Day on June 24 to give their hedge a topiary. During this time, the first annual shoot of the woody plants has formed and the second is about to begin.

However, there are now some experts who recommend a first heavier hedge pruning in mid to late February and a second, weaker pruning in the summer. It has been observed that this way the hedges grow more evenly and densely.

The advantages of pruning in February:

  • The nesting season has not yet begun.
  • The shoots are fresh and vigorous.
  • The plant has enough regeneration time until the next pruning.
Pick a cloudy day for hedge pruning. This will prevent the branches from drying out too quickly at the pruning wounds due to the sun’s rays.

How is a hedge cut correctly?

To ensure that hedge trimming is done professionally, you should reach for the right gardening tool. Hedge trimmers are available in various designs. For very small hedges or bushes or an exact topiary, the use of manual shears is recommended. For small to medium-sized hedges, an electric or battery-powered hedge trimmer will make hedge trimming much easier. If there are very long privacy hedges on your property, a gasoline hedge trimmer is usually the best choice.

The right hedge trimmer should be based on your needs and the conditions of your garden. In our hedge trimmer test / comparison you will find the best devices.

With the right device, the plants can be quickly and easily brought into the desired shape. It is important to avoid cutting the hedge narrower at the bottom than at the top. Otherwise, the lower leaves would hardly get any light and thus become bare over time.

The ideal cut shape is a trapezoid. In addition, always adapt the shape to the species of the hedge and respect the natural growth of the plants.

Set up two poles at the side of the hedge and stretch a string at the desired height to act as a guide for a straight cut. Keep both arms exactly horizontal and perform light sweeping movements from the back. With the help of this method, you will avoid dents and nicks.


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