I don’t know about you but it’s about his time of the year I start thinking about cutting the hedges. I was brought up in the country and I remember my dad used to take a lot of advice from a farmer friend when it came to hedge cutting. “When you see the farmer out with his tractor and hedge cutter then its time to cut the hedges” he used to say.
Well last weekend the farmer in the back field was out bright and early trimming the hedgerows so I thought I’d get the step ladder out and start tidying up our mixed hedge. It’s about 60 meters of mixed hedge in total and has pretty much everything in it from lleylandi to hazel with the odd walnut sapling thrown in for good measure.
The hedge was here when we moved in and as each year goes with careful management it just gets better. Although it isn’t perhaps the most beautiful hedge you’ll find but it does host a variety of native birds and flora so it’s always best to wait until the birds have stopped breeding before cutting.
Every year I have the challenge of finding something to do with the waste material. Well this year a friend of mine gave us a small electric shredder. It doesn’t actually shred the waste, more like grinds the branches into submission!
Having said that it is a great little machine and I’m immensely grateful for it, not least as it enables us to create a by-product from the hedge trimmings which serves several purposes.Firstly it makes a great surface for around the entrance to the nursery which is soft under foot and when its had a chance to break down it turns into the most amazing springy compost material.
The great thing is its cheap to produce and lasts for several seasons and you can throw it onto the compost heap or simply lay it on top of the beds and wait for nature to do its stuff.
Last year we started to scatter the trimmings on the paths in the kitchen garden to create a more natural feel. One year on and its turned into the most amazing mulch which is soft under foot and can be used for mulching the flower beds. I simply spade it onto the beds and work it into the soil and worms do the rest!
If you’re thinking of buying a shredder then the bigger you can afford the better is my advice. I love my little shredder but do sometimes wish I had a little extra power.
Here are my tips for trouble free shredding!
- Read and follow the instructions that come with your shredder.
- Be patient and avoid stuffing too much green material in at once especially Leylandii as it has a tendency to clog the machine.
- Resist stuffing large branches in or you’ll likely burn out the motor. My little shredder will comfortably take branches up to an inch in diameter. Anything larger gets stripped of its branches and either used for poles in the garden or for winter firewood.
Like most of the green waste in the garden hedge trimmings can be a pain to get rid of but if you’re able to invest in a modest little shredder I’d say go for it as the by-product is can easily be recycled.
I didn’t manage to finish the job this weekend so will be shredding some more next weekend.
Still living the dream …