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Hacking off a Hedge

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turfer, Mar 5, 2001.

  1. Turfer

    Turfer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Got a customer that wants me to hack off 4 feet of an 11 foot hedge. I know the tops are going to look bad, (brown and open until new growth covers it). Does anybody have any advice on how to make this hack job look good ? Should I cut a flat top, round top, etc. ? The hedges look like something close to a red tip but without the red tips. Thanks.
  2. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

    Make sure that you explain to the customer that the hedges will look a little rough after you trim them.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    You are talking about deciduous type, aren't you? To do this right, you are also going to want to prune all the dead stuff out of them as well as the larger woodier chutes, leaving the younger more hearty chutes to fill out. I usually do this first so then when you cut accross the top, you will be cutting through less larger stuff.
  4. Hunter Landscape

    Hunter Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    before you cut back anything i think it is wise to know the growth habits of the plant or tree that you are cutting. this knowledge should help to determine exactly how you are going to cut these back.

    for example if you cut back 5ft american boxwoods to 2ft then they will probably die. however if you cut back the same size azalea, then they will come back more than likely.
    ie. make sure you know what you are cutting. you don't want to replace a customer's entire hedge for sure.
  5. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Do it right which is not necessarily the way
    customer says he wants it.I cut one back like
    the customer said he wanted AND LIKE TO HAVE HAD TO
    FIGHT MY WAY OUT O THERE.Didnt look like he thought it
    would.Hate to say it but sometimes you got to steer them
    around their dumbness.
  6. DMC300

    DMC300 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    Viburnum? If so you should be alright,they'll fill back out with a little T.L.C.But look like s%#@t for a season.
  7. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    1. Tell the customer that cutting back that severely will cause the hedge to look woody/very little fullness or foliage. It will come back but will take some time. Often times it will look like hell for quite a while. You can be more specific about time for the hedge to fill back in depending on the variety & time of year.

    2. In my opinion, the paying customer is always right. By that I mean, once you tell them the low down regarding what it will look like and what you would recommend... if they want it hacked 2 feet, 4 feet or 6 feet...that's what they are paying for so do the job per the customers wishes.
    If a customer wants something cut back too much for the time of year or particular shrub, I tell them what they can expect as far as appearance and length of time it may take to fill out again. I want to hear them say, "I know or I understand", some verbal acknowledgement that they know the result and will not be surprised. After that, let er rip and thank them for their business.
  8. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    you have some very good advice aforementioned. I also tell customer who want hedges or shrubs cut way back to expect them to look terrible for several months. Last spring I cut back some Holly bushes ( which I feel can not be killed from cutting) from ten feet to three feet. they looked terrible through August and then they started sprout abundently. I drove past there last week and they are now six feet tall and vibrant. Good luck
  9. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Cut any center leader back more, so the outer branches will be higher and conceal the stump. You will still have a 7 foot hedge so unless someone is peering down from a 2nd floor window, doing it this way will leave the hedge presentable until it fills back in.

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