Every year I get asked one question: what do you do in winter? And the answer is cedar shearing. Miles of cedar hedging. In all kinds of weather.
Always start with sharp shears. I detest shearing with dull shears so much, I carry my own set with me every day. Using dull shears is extremely frustrating: it’s slow and the tops get all shredded. Sharp shears fly through the cedar and leave the top looking razor sharp. Trust me.
Bonus: Thuja plicata hedges give off an extremely pleasant odor when cut!
When you take lunch, bring your shears with you and put the cover back on. Keep it on when the shears are in the truck to eliminate accidental cuts.
Try to lubricate your shears after every use.
Keeping a full jerry can close by is also mandatory. Walking back to your truck to re-fuel is extremely inefficient. Bring your fuel with you and move it along.
If you’re lucky, your company uses Aspen fuel which is much cleaner than regular gas.
Morning coffee is optional, of course, but I like to warm up in the morning. Your water bottle, however, is a must. Keep it close by and re-hydrate as you prune. If you do it right, you will sweat and your cheeks will be rosy.
Always prune bottom to top, not the other way. This way you minimize the chances of putting a hole in your hedge. And remember not to go too hard on the sides: the hedge should still be green when you’re done.
The tops should be pruned harder so we have a nice laser line on top.
Before you start a new hedge, consider how much time you’ll need for pruning and clean-ups. Don’t rush this work. I prefer to start a new hedge fresh on a new day.
Great cedar pruning is an acquired skill over several seasons. Start on lower-profile hedges and watch more experienced landscapers. Eventually you’ll get to do high-profile hedging at entrances and club houses.
And the best news? There is no shortage of work! And that is great news during a nasty pandemic.