Home generalCutting beech hedge - Instructions for hornbeam hedges

Cutting beech hedge - Instructions for hornbeam hedges

  • Instructions: Cut the hornbeam hedge
    • material
    • Cut Dates
    • preparatory work
    • Cut into shape
    • incision
  • Tips for quick readers

Hornbeams are always there when it comes to settling a deciduous, leafy hedge. The deciduous shrubs with the broad-based location amplitude, are easy to maintain. Is there any question as to whether the ease with which pruning continues? Explore here how to professionally cut a beech hedge. This hornbeam hedgehogs guide leaves nothing to be desired.

The dense foliage, the shapely stature and frugal unpretentiousness qualify the hornbeam for the prime example of a magnificent hedge plant. The deciduous foliage does not allow for prying eyes, either in sunny or shady spots. Even the hardest winter does not stop a beech hedge from exorcising next spring. Give the ornamental wood a free hand, stretch it up to 10 meters and more. As creative hobby gardeners strive to regulate the growth and contour of their beech hedge, the question arises of the skilful cut. The following instructions clearly explain how hornbeam hedges stay in shape.

Instructions: Cut the hornbeam hedge


The successful course of a hedgecut depends not least on the equipment. Therefore, this guide begins with a list of recommended tools and practical accessories.

  • Manual hedge trimmer with joint-gentle damper, z. B. Berger 4490 for the price from 40 euros in the specialized trade
  • Alternatively, a cordless hedge trimmer, z. B. Bosch AHS 52 with 52 cm long swords for the price of about 100 euros
  • Optionally an electric hedge trimmer, z. B. Black + Decker GT 5055 with 500 watts of power for the price of 90 euros
  • Gasoline hedge trimmer for the property-comprehensive beech hedge, z. B. MacCulloch for the price of 230 euros

Although the right hedge trimmer is the key to fatigue-free and accurate cutting, the following accessories should not be forgotten:

  • Stable bars
  • Thick, well visible cords
  • A long plywood
  • saw
  • Safe ladder
  • Gloves, goggles

Ideally wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers made of sturdy fabric. In addition, the wearing of solid work shoes is indispensable for a safe working.

Cut Dates

Considering an annual increase of 30 to 35 cm, keep the hornbeam hedge in perfect shape with a single, annual cut. Practice has shown that repetitive shape cutting sets the course for a compact and vital growth in unity with an opaque foliage dress well into the winter. We have put together a recommendable schedule for you below:

  • The time window for the main section is open from the middle to the end of February
  • To make a second cut in a moderate amount around St. Johanni (June 24)
  • Do not cut hornbeam hedges between August and February

Consider this timing not as a tight corset, but rather as a guide. Depending on the weather, the location or the age, your beech hedge grows faster or more leisurely. Thanks to the frugal cut tolerance of white beech, there's nothing wrong with adding additional cut dates when needed. This is especially true for very young beech hedges in the first 2 to 3 years of existence. Since these are still very loose, between March and June repeatedly branches growing out of shape should be cut off.

Tip: A freshly set hornbeam hedge receives a vigorous planting in the immediate following. Cut all shoots back by half, this measure promotes the further branching noticeably.

preparatory work

So that the hedge offers an accurate and symmetrical appearance after the cut, the cut should be made as straight as possible. Do not rely solely on your judgment, because a skewed cut is only with a lot of patience again auszubügeln. It is better to construct an easy orientation guide with the accessories recommended in this manual. That's how it's done:

  • Stick rods into the ground on the sides of the beech hedge
  • Stretch cords at the level of desired growth height

Cut the longest possible plywood at the lower end at an adequate angle to the later hedge shape. For example, if you want the beneficial trapezoid shape, saw off the wood at an angle, while remaining straight for a vertical silhouette.

Cut into shape

Despite all aesthetic considerations, the trapezoidal shape for hornbeam hedges is considered to be perfect. Over a broad base rises a rejuvenating crown. Thanks to the sloping side surfaces, light and air reach the hedge sufficiently.

If you can not make friends with the trapezoidal shape, the geometrical rectangle can be used as a framework as a variant. The advantages of the upwardly narrower contour with regard to the lighting conditions come here only to a reduced extent to fruition; in the sunny to partially shaded location, the hornbeam hedge in this form also gives its best.

Completely unsuitable for the beech hedge is a contour with a narrow base and a broad crown. In this case, the deciduous trees shadow themselves. As a result, the branches thrive in the upper area, while the lower shoots set their growth and bleak due to lack of sunlight.

Tip: If the beech hedge is in a snow-rich region, the crown runs extra pointedly. In this way you prevent snow break more effectively than with a trapezoidal shape.


For the cut of your beech hedge, choose a day with mild, dry and above all covered weather, without bright sunlight. First, carefully search the trees for nesting birds. At the time of the main cut in February, there are probably no feathered inhabitants in the hedge. As part of the summer cut, the appointment is postponed, should latecomers in the woods still frolicking, so they can finish their breeding business undisturbed. If all materials are ready and the preparation work is done, the actual cut for a normal sized hornbeam hedge takes 60-80 minutes. This is how you proceed professionally:

  • Start with the narrower sides
  • A helping hand holds the orientation board for the trapezoidal shape
  • Cut the beech hedge from bottom to top
  • The electric or gasoline operated hedge trimmer in circular movements lead

In the last step, cut the top edge by keeping an eye on the strained cords. Pay attention to a firm position on the ladder. Then clear the beech hedge thoroughly. All dead wood as well as miserable and rubbing branches are removed.

In February, hornbeam hedges are not yet fully in the juice, so they can easily cope with a cutback by half. The summer pruning at the end of June should not remove more than a third of the branch length, so that the stress load for the deciduous tree does not overreach. If it is a growing hedge in the first 3 years of existence, promote a bushy branching when the branches are cut on further dates. However, not more than 30 percent of the length should be shortened.

Tips for quick readers

  • Main section from the middle to the end of February
  • Second, moderate pruning in late June
  • Cut young beech hedge more often
  • Planting cut in half
  • Cords on rods stretch for orientation
  • Trapezoidal shape recommended: wide base, narrow crown
  • Do not cut under blazing sunlight
  • Examine the hedge for nesting birds
  • Start the pruning with the sides
  • Cut from bottom to top
  • Cut the top to the end
  • Main cut in February by half
  • Summer cut maximum of one third
  • In addition, thoroughly level out the hedge
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