I have hedges around my property that are now just masses of brush that are twice as wide and twice nearly twice as tall as they should be.

Lots of the plants in this hedge are L shaped. Where they scrape the floor before turning 90 degrees and growing upwards.

If I were to cut back to where the hedge should start in terms of width, I would be cutting into the bottom part of the L and getting rid of all the height of the plant and just leaving a little nub in the ground facing away from the centre of the hedge.

What should I do to try to save these hedges and if possible how to do so to keep privacy while doing so. I'd be willing to do multiple pruning sessions spanning a few years.

L shape of hedge plant https://photos.app.goo.gl/WjfgAZcQ1DRiBs9M6

General state https://photos.app.goo.gl/JkqqHTWV6KEMmKmp8

To identify hedge https://photos.app.goo.gl/FZLERubkPyuXpsMx6

  • Can you add a photo please - you have not said what the plants are that comprise the hedge, and ID of those is important in order to answer.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 15, 2020 at 20:58
  • Are those good enough?
    – Tolure
    Jun 15, 2020 at 21:07
  • Please edit your post to embed the photographs directly. Sixth button from the left in the toolbar about the editor.
    – Niall C.
    Jun 15, 2020 at 21:17
  • I've embed the photographs.
    – Tolure
    Jun 15, 2020 at 21:20
  • 1
    Related, possible duplicate, dealing with the same problem: gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/35689/…. In short, the bare bits won’t regrow and the still green bits need trimming at least once a year anyway.
    – Stephie
    Jun 15, 2020 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


You need to prune back hard to where you want the hedge to be. Take your time and you should be able to renovate the hedge across a few years.

"For best results, deciduous hedges should be renovated in midwinter, and evergreen ones in midspring. Where drastic renovation is necessary, renovate each side of the hedge in different years to avoid over stressing the plants. Reducing height should also be a separate operation; allow a complete growing reason for recovery." - The American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training

Renovation page from the book

  • The important keyword here: deciduous. While this works for e.g. a beech hedge, conifers cut back to the bare branches won’t leaf out from them.
    – Stephie
    Jun 16, 2020 at 22:46

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