Yesterday our electric hedge trimmer packed it in so I wondered if any Workshoppers have recommendations for one that will stand the test of time. We mainly use it on our photinia robusta hedges and other light limbed bushes around the garden.
Also the blade on a pair of secateurs broke yesterday after cutting a branch which was only about 1cm in thickness. The secateurs were only 6 months old (with only light use) so it would be greatly appreciated if anyone can suggest a quality pair of secateurs that won't fall apart at the drop of a hat. I prefer secateurs without the exposed spring but am open to suggestions.
@Annette, I just looked up your Photinia Robusta, & if left unattended, they grow to 6m high, & to 3m wide. To me, that means they'll need heavy cutting back from time to time to keep them to a manageable size.
We don't have hedges, but we live in an established older area & I've observed the hedge trimmer syndrome, where hedges grow far wider than (perhaps) planned, encroaching over half of public footpaths.
My reasoning that they grow too wide, is that the gardeners just tickle the outer foliage with hedge trimmers, avoiding the heavier growth is too woody for the trimmers to handle.
If I were your hired gardener, I'd rock up armed with a good platform ladder, a quality pruning saw, a quality pair of loppers, secateurs & a garden rake.
One thing to note, is that none on that list is powered, cord or cordless, but you'll be the envy of the neighbourhood with your beautifully shaped, young looking & healthy hedge.
We planted natives (zonks ago) that've grown faaar larger than the label suggested, near lawns & pathways, so cutting back is a must. My approach has been to decide the ultimate boundary, then reach into the shrub armed with secateurs, & cut anything that's the size (or more) of my index finger, at elbow reach from the desired boundary. I do that for the whole perimeter around the shrub to maintain symetry/balance/shape. Then I feel for anything stiff/tough (chopstick sized) 30cm from the desired extremity & remove them too, no questions asked.
At that stage it's looking pretty ratty, with foliage still beyond the desired perimeter, but it's time to look for any branches that're growing across/through/interfering with other branches. Decide which to keep, then remove the offender, it has to go, otherwise the wounds can bring disease to the shrub.
Last but not least, is the dainty stuff. Any soft foliage at the desired boundary stays, but anything twiggy goes.
This may seem shrub-centric method, but a hedge will thrive & remain controllable too. What happens, is that the extra air & light stimulates new shoots within the shrub/hedge, & you'll be blown away by how young & vital it will look.
The platform ladder is great for extended high level work, as you have a more comfortable area to stand on, & far more area that you can cover from that one ladder location.
My perspective on life, is that with age, things get harder to do, & unfortunately they'll progressively get harder, so investing in quality tools extends the pleasure in what you enjoy.
Tool maintenance is also vitally important, thoroughly clean/oil them regularly & sharpening them as needed, it'll extend their ease of use, & reward you for years to come.
My garden tool supplier of choice:
They only sell professional quality tools, which means all replacement parts are stocked, which avoids the bin it regularly rubbish that makes up the bulk of the retail market.
They also cater for lefthanders, & different hand sizes, & their communications/advice is second to none. As an example, I cut through a 50 year old almond tree trunk with a $70 handsaw that they recommended, it worked a treat, & they also stock all replacement parts for it too.
Hope this helps.
I have a 7ft high photinia hedge along the end of the driveway near the carport but it is vigorously trimmed about 3 times year. We have already shortened it by several feet in anticipation of the age factor you mentioned.
We also have several untamed photinias out the front along the boundary which are probably the dimensions you mentioned. We do have plans to tame or terminate them but first things first. In a small area between the house and the driveway we have a single photinia bush about 7ft high (pictured) which is soon going to be pulled out along with the grass with the intention of making that small area into a rockery with a rainbow of perennial flowers and ground covers (I have just purchased 22 different seeds). I have already obtained some free rocks through Gumtree but will be needing quite a few more. We also have to come up with a solution to hide the ugly ducted heating unit against the brick wall but something that will still allow access to it. We have to keep any rocks away from the driveway and will probably put some tanbark along it. This is because some visitors have trouble backing their car out of our driveway. We also need to keep it clear so that our boat can easily be backed into the carport. I also thought that some sort of metal or timber installation on the brickwork would perhaps break up the monotony of the brick wall which is north facing. Any suggestions from Workshoppers would be welcomed. This project will hopefully be done in the New Year.
I can recommend Felco secateurs - will last forever if you look after them. Easy to replace parts and sharpen, too.
Thanks @Isobel - I will check them out. Much appreciated. My wish list is getting longer and longer. I will have to smile nice at Secret Santa to get me some of the items on my wish list for Birthday and Christmas
I believe that there is a real pleasure in using finely crafted tools, & the Felco range caters for all hand shapes, sizes, handed preference, dexterity & cutting capacities.
The other thing that I forgot to mention before was that hedge trimmers, & dare I say chainsaws don't cut cleanly like loppers & secateurs, so there is a real risk of disease.
Cleanliness is paramount when trimming for good plant health, & I doubt that many users of trimmers or chainsaws make the effort to clean the blades before use.
By the way @Annette, it looks like I was preaching to the converted about managing vigorous shrubs, yours look splendidly healthy & are real show pieces.
Beauty comes from love.
@Jason I haven't got new secateurs yet, I got lots of other lovely gardening things for Birthday and Christmas but no secateurs - Mother's Day perhaps? I have been super busy with the garden etc. Last week I made 15 jars of pickled cucumbers and 50 jars of pickled zucchinis.
That's a lot of pickles @Annette!
I ended up getting those pair of Fiskars secateurs and my wife is very happy with them. Start campaigning for a mother's day gift nice and early this year.
Happy New Year, and happy belated birthday!
The cucumbers are starting to grow thick and fast - later this week I will probably have enough to make about 30 jars of pickled cucumbers.