Hedgemaze Tools of the Trade

toolstrade I find a few basic garden and carpentry tools are useful in hedge maze maintenance. These are the loppers, grass clippers, hedge cutters, hand saw, and shovel. Gloves and a good hat are necessary. Add to these long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, even in very hot weather. I should mention that these are the tools I use for my hedge maze, which was grown by transplanting privet. You may need other tools if you decided to plant horn wood, decorative roses, or, God forbid, bamboo.
Well-used loppers.
The loppers are useful as they can slice through privet branches 2 inches thick with ease. You’ll want a good sturdy pair with hardened steel blades. Most come 12 to 36 inches long. I use a pair that’s 16 inches in length and it’s worked fine for me. Also, use the bypass-style lopper, which leaves a clean-cut when it slices off a branch. The anvil-style version tends to crush the branch connection.
Standard band saw.
I find that a short hand saw, about 15 inches long is an excellent tool for cutting through limbs thicker than 2 inches. It’s essential if you need to cut through the main trunk of a tall shrub. I’d thought at the beginning of The Big Trim, which I finished this month, that a limb saw would be a better idea. I tried a small limb saw and found it to be a bad tool to cut thin privet branches. Might work alright on a thick maple branch, but not on privet. The ordinary hand saw, which every home should possess, does the job with ease. In a few minutes, you can saw through the average privet trunk.
Field shovel.
A small garden shovel is good for digging up privet plants you want to move around. It’s also perfect to dig out the trees you don’t want in the maze. Oak can be a nightmare to remove. I’ve had issues with mulberry and maple trees in my hedge maze as well. A garden shovel is handy to have when it’s needed. Nothing too big, the small field shovel in the picture about is excellent.
Hedge clippers.
Hedge clippers are necessary for the maintenance of the hedge maze. You can use something small, such as a hedge shear to remove small branches but those work one branch at a time. To cut back on the growth of tall hedges, you’ll need something larger that is able to trim larger sections. I find that a study pair of hedge clippers with 11-inch blades does the job most of the time. It’s a good idea to have ones with blades placed at an angle, so you can follow the angles of the hedge line. Wooden handles are a good idea too. Some people use the electric or gas-powered hedge clippers to trim up large hedges when they’re in a hurry. I’ve used both and find them to create more problems than they solve. The issues with maintenance, cord length, and trying to cut too much in too little time outweigh their advantages. Likewise, for a pole saw. Great way to trim down the hedges in one day, but what do you do with all that brush? The average person can invest the time needed to keep a backyard maze in check. If, on the other hand, you’re employed to keep the Hampton Court maze under control, this is different. However, I’m writing these instructions for a smaller maze.
Grass clippers.
A good, well-built set of grass clippers comes in handy. Purchase one that has a spring load on it, and you’ll have something for the finer trimming on the hedges. These work best on new growth when the privet sends out its first few tendrils after the main trunk or branch is first trimmed. They are not useful when the branch thickness increases over a 1/2 inch. They can be employed to cut back the foliage around the base of the shrubs. When closed and locked, the grass trimmer blade is good for digging up small objects. Always exercise the utmost caution around the sharp blades used for the hedge maze. A good lopper can take someone’s finger off with little effort. I assume most hedge makers work alone, but not always. The wrong hand placed in the path of a set of shears, or even a shovel blade, can be damaged beyond any surgeon’s repair attempt. Also, an open cut is liable to become infected, given the number of microbes present in the soil. Even the cleaning and oiling of the tools can leave you open to a dangerous cut if you’re not careful. So please be careful! I include hat and gloves as part of the tool kit since you need them when working in the hedge maze. Gloves especially. You need a good pair of leather gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of cut branches and the ground. Purchase a heavy pair with a long cuff. The cuff, as I’ve found, is essential for keeping your wrists clear from poisonous plants. The only places I break out in poison ivy reactions are on my wrist. It’s not hard to come into frequent contact with poison ivy when you’re shoving the vines into a garbage sack. And it’s another reason you want to wear as much as you can stand when working in the hedge maze. The hedge turns into a trellis for all manner of vines. Poison ivy likes to work its way through the privet and up to the top of the hedge. The best way to get it out is by pulling but don’t do that with your bare hands. I prefer a large-brimmed bush hat to keep the sun and bugs out of my face. Also, make sure the one you use has a chin strap and a band to soak up sweat. It’s handy when the weather pops 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can purchase a number of styles online at a reasonable price. The best thing I’ve found to carry your tools is a small canvas bag. They’re cheap, sturdy, and can be hung from a branch. First published 9/3/19

About Timothy L Mayer

Timothy Mayer has written 35 post in this blog.

I'm a full-time ghost writer, business owner, expert on spy fiction, martial artist, tax payer and self-appointed expert on obscure movies. Available for lectures. Donations appreciated

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