Gardening Tips with Charlie Albone



Restoring your Canopy, Vines & Hedges
We all enjoy lazy Summer afternoons with family and friends under the shade of a natural canopy. However, after the Spring rains and sunshine, it’s likely that your vine needs a tidy before it is guest ready. Trimming will help let more air and light flow through your canopy, reducing the chance for fungal diseases once the humidity hits.

A big job, it’s easily managed when you have the right equipment, such as the STIHL HLA 56 long-reach battery hedge trimmer or the STIHL HLA 86 battery telescopic hedge trimmer, which extends to an impressive 3.1 metres in length, making it possible to tackle those taller hedges and vines from the safety of the ground.

Shaping Summer Hedges
There’s nothing like a lush green hedge to enclose your Summer sanctuary, which is why keeping on top of your pruning is vital. Hedging plants respond to a haircut by putting out more growth creating a dense structural plant – perfect for a formal shape like a hedge.

Throughout Spring, I’ll have tried to correct any shapes on my hedges as the growth is fast, holes repair quickly and any wavey tops or sides grow back to perfect straight lines quickly. Summer is more about maintaining these new lines and letting the new growth harden off, giving you the shape you’re after. If you cut too hard in Summer, you could expose hardwood to unnecessary stress (as it would come in contact with scorching sun). In fact, I like to shift my hedging to the earlier parts of the day as the temperature rises. It makes for a more comfortable experience when wielding a hedge trimmer.

‘How to trim shade canopy’

STIHL HLA 56 Battery Long-Reach Hedge Trimmer in hand, Charlie shares how to keep your natural canopy healthy and providing shade all summer long.

Charlie’s Top Tips for Hedge Trimming

  • Don’t trim your hedge if it is too hot or sunny! If the leaves inside your hedges are suddenly exposed to bright sunlight, their sensitive dermal tissue could get burned.
  • To save time and keep your beds or paths clean and tidy, lay a tarp beneath the hedge to catch all the cuttings.
  • When cutting the side of the hedge, start from the bottom and swing the hedge trimmer upwards in an arc while cutting. Stop cutting to walk forward, lower hedge trimmer and then repeat.
  • Cut the top of the hedge by holding the cutting blades at an angle of less than 10°. The slight angle will stop them catching on twiggy branches.
  • For tall or wide hedges, a long-reach hedge trimmer is the safest option, allowing you to work with your feet safely on the ground.
  • To ensure the top and sides remain straight on your long line hedges, you can set up string lines. Set these up a good 10cm below the line you are cutting this way you won’t cut through them all the time – it’s more like a reference point to check you’re not going off track.
  • Use a resin solvent like STIHL Resin Spray after trimming to keep your blades in top condition and make them easier to clean after use.
  • Give back to your garden and shred your trimmings. STIHL Garden Shredders make quick work of hedge clippings or branches up to 35mm.

Charlie’s Top Battery Tools for Hedge Trimming

  • I like to use a STIHL battery hedge trimmer as it’s lighter in weight and has a long-lasting battery.
  • If you’ve got only a small number of hedges no higher than shoulder height, a great value packed hedge trimmer is the STIHL HSA 45. At only 2.3kg, it’s lightweight and very easy to use.
  • For maintaining smaller, evergreen hedges as well as small-leaved ornamental trees and lawn edges, the lightweight and compact STIHL HSA 26 battery shrub shears are ideal.
  • For small to medium gardens, the HSA 56 from the STIHL AK Battery System is capable of trimming over 140m of hedges (up to 2m high) on a single charge.
  • If you have a large garden, there’s no hedge too wide for the HSA 66.
  • And for high or wide hedges the HLA 56 Long-Reach Hedge Trimmer (also part of the STIHL AK Battery System) is a great option. With a total length of 2.1m and an adjustable blade angle, you will master those tall and hard-to-reach hedges in no time.

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