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Tips for the newbe on hedge/shrub trimming

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, May 21, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    I just quoted a guy $250 for a shrub trimming, weeding, mulching job. I'm expecting it to take me about 5-6 hours. He has about 20-30 shrubs, nothing too big; mostly 3ft-5ft tall. But many are very messy looking and uneven from irregular growth. These guys I'm hoping will be happy if I just get them evened out and looking good. But how much should I take off? I know enough to make them look descent, but should I trim off much past the basic shape of the bush and just take the uneven foliage off or should I trim another inch or 2 off each ( which could double my time :( )
    He said he only wanted a light trim and I'm sure anything would be an improvement. But any tips u vets may have would be appreciated.
  2. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    another question I have is to ask what kind of pick up system do u use to clean up after hedge trimming? Do u use mainly a rake, by hand, or use a blower with a vac, to collect clippings? Wondering what the best way is to save time and trouble!
  3. Matts lawn care

    Matts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Messages: 829

    Sounds like you underbid the job. You are making 41.66 an hr - mulch cost. How much mulch? Without seeing any pictures I would just give it A light trim like he said. As far as clean up put a tarp under/around the hedge you are trimming and the cleanup time will be minimul. This is how i do it and it works out good.
    Just my .02
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Yes, working with a tarp under you is they only good way to ensure a fast clean-up. You should be able to see where the basic shape of the shrub grew out with new growth.
    These are instructions for individual shrub pruning... NOT hedge trimming-
    First of all you remove any dead branches from the base. Then take off just the growth that is obviously overgrown and unruly. Then work your way around the shrub again.
    For shrubs that flower on one year old wood, remove the twigs that have already flowered, if new young growth is breaking cut back to where there is a strong young shoot growing in desired direction.
    Thin out some of the shoots to open up the center of the shrub to improve air movement.
    For shrubs that flower on the current seasons growth, pruning should be done when the shrub is dormant Feb and Mar are best. Deadhead off the dead flowers leaving two or three buds on the flower stem. if you to cut the dormant bud that is pointing left, the stem will grow to the left, if you cut to the bud facing right it will grow to the right, same with buds pointing forward or backward.
    For now just shape them up by taking back the stems that are overgrown and only cut off where necessary using the above instructions for heading the stems back.
    You want to start on the back side of the shrub if possible so if you make a mistake at first it won't show so much.
    Use clean sharp tools and wipe them with rubbing alcohol before, after your work and if there are any signs of disease again in between shrubs.
    Good luck. When in doubt DON'T cut it out!
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,456

    Cleanup can be very easy...blow the stuff out into the lawn and mulch it with a mower then bag if anything left but usually there isn't anthing visableif you are cutting a small amount. That is plenty money for 30 shrubs...it isn't going to take 5 hours if you got the correct hedge trimmer(short handle style)
  6. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Ok, guys, I'm feeling better about my job comming up, thanks! I just got my first hedge trimmer. It was cheap, but all I could afford now. This is my first real trimming job anyhow. I've been practicing on my shrubs and the worse the shrub looks ( from over growth) the easier it is to make an improvement. So these guys hopefully won't be too hard to please.

    I'll try that tarp thing too. I'll bring my waste container and just pour the clippings from the tarp into the trash bag lined garbage container. Great! :)

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