The hedge trimmer. This piece of equipment would only be required immediately by a gardener with an inherited hedge, or many bushy plants, such as heathers, requiring regular trimming. But anyone intending to plant a hedge may like to consider acquiring a trimmer when the time comes for regular cutting. Hedges can be clipped with shears, but if the new growth is a bit tough and woody, shears can soon become blunt. Also, if there is a large area to cut, the constant chopping and jarring can be very tiring after a while. Although power hedge trimmers are comparatively heavy, they do the job so much quicker that the user is not as likely to feel as weary at the end of the job. Hedge trimmers are usually powered by electricity and consist of a pair of toothed blades which move backwards and forwards against each other. The tool is passed over the surface of the hedge from the bottom upwards. The new growth is cut as it comes between the teeth of the two moving blades and drops on to the ground. As with other machinery, several sizes are available, but the bigger they get, the heavier they are in proportion, and it is usually less arduous to use a smaller, lighter model unless you have to trim hundreds of yards of hedging. Petrol and two-stroke models are also manufactured but these are considerably heavier owing to the weight of the engine and only come into their own if there is no means of powering an electrically operated model. The main drawback of electric hedge trimmers is the likelihood of cutting the cable. Again, with modern double-insulated models, there should be no real problem but the use of an RCD in connection with the machine, as described for electric mowers, will eliminate the risk of electric shock. A battery-operated machine is useful for trimming shrubs and short lengths of hedge.
While an electric hedge trimmer is a boon to the busy gardener, in careless hands it can become a dangerous piece of equipment. Always wear good footwear and fitted clothing, especially if you have to climb a ladder or steps when using it. Never use an electric trimmer on a wet hedge or in the rain. Undue reaching or stretching is not a good idea either, as you haven’t got proper control over the machine. If you do inadvertently cut the cable, it should always be rejoined with a proper connector, not a bit of insulation tape. Modern hedge trimmers have a range of built-in safety devices to reduce accidents, theoretically to a minimum. Always keep both hands on the trimmer — do not pull pieces of trimmings off the hedge with one hand while continuing to cut with the other — those blades are extremely strong – and sharp; they are no respecters of fingers!