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Tips on How To Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely

Knowing how to use a hedge trimmer safely will protect you from injury when working in the front or backyard. Hedge trimmer safety is crucial because garden power tools have potential injury risks for gardeners and anyone nearby. For example, hedge cutters have several sharp cutting edges and can be dangerous if you don’t use them properly. Also, knowing how to use a hedge trimmer safely protects you from the risks of electrocution, flying debris, tripping on wires, loud noises, and inhaling toxic fuel fumes.

Use a Hedge trimmer Safely

In the right hands, hedge trimmers save time and effort when trimming decorative shrubs, hedges, and ornamental bushes. However, the power tool requires handling correctly to achieve the best results.

When trimming hedges, the last thing you need is a trip to the emergency department because of a severe cut, damage to your eye, or suffering from an electric shock.

What are the best tips on how to use a hedge trimmer safely? After trimming hedges, what should you do to keep your trimmer in excellent working order? This article answers those questions and more.

When Can You Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely

The dangers of using a hedge trimmer are hidden because they are easy to use. However, it’s a mistake to ignore the dangers associated with any kind of electric power tool with sharp blades. And there are certain times when it’s not safe to use the cutting tool on your hedges.

So, when can you use a hedge trimmer safely? Here are some safety precautions on when you should avoid using a hedge trimmer.

Don’t Trim Hedges or Shrubs in the Rain

The first rule of using a hedge trimmer safely is never to use it in wet weather. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. With a corded hedge trimmer, there is the risk of electric shock if water gets into the connection. Also, rain could short circuit the battery on a cordless hedge trimmer.

Even if you have a gas-powered trimmer, using it in wet weather is never a good idea. First, there is an increased risk of slipping on soggy leaves or wet paths. Second, cutting wet branches, twigs, and leaves clogs up the blades faster. And increased moisture on steel blades and in the motor can cause rust and seize the unit.

Don’t use a Hedge Trimmer if it Appears Damaged

It’s unsafe to use a hedge trimmer that has broken, damaged, worn, or missing parts. Remember that the cutting action of the dual stainless-steel blades is incredibly fast. This means that a damaged hedge trimmer could suffer catastrophic failure if you try to operate it.

Always Check the Extension Cord to Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely

Using a corded hedge trimmer safely also requires checking the extension cord. You should ensure the cord is not damaged and there are no exposed wires. Additionally, the electric cable must be UL-approved and three-pronged grounded for outdoor use.

The safest way to use an electric hedge trimmer is to have the correct gauge of extension cord. Also, avoid using a cord that is too long or wound up because you risk loss of power, voltage drop, and overheating the motor. Additionally, long cords in the garden increase the risk of tripping.

Top safety tip when trimming hedges: Use the safety feature of the cord-lock system on corded models to prevent accidental unplugging.

Step-by-Step Guide — How To Use a Hedge Trimmer Safely

1. Inspect the area you plan on trimming

The first step is to check the hedges, shrubs, and bushes you plan to trim. Your goal is to identify potential problems and risks. These could be birds nesting, electric cables, or other possible hazards.

Top tip for trimming hedges: Put down a groundsheet to catch fallen leaves and twigs to make cleanup easier and faster.

2. Check the Hedge Trimmer before Starting

Before connecting the hedge trimmer to the power source, it’s best to check it for damage. It may be a good idea to lubricate the blades before starting to make slicing through tough foliage easier. Additionally, make sure the bolts are tight, and there are no loose parts.

3. Wear Safety Gear to Trim Hedges Safely

How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

The most crucial step when trimming hedges safely is to wear safety equipment. Remember that debris can fly from the blades at over 100 miles an hour. So, you can never be too dismissive of the importance of protective gear.

Here are the essential items of safety gear you need to trim hedges safely:

  • Safety glasses: Protecting your eyes from flying debris is vital. From all the pieces of protective gear available, safety glasses are a must for using a hedge trimmer.
  • Safety footwear: You should have a good pair of boots that provide excellent traction. These will help prevent slipping and an unplanned trip to accident and emergency.
  • Safety clothing: It’s essential to keep your body covered to prevent cuts and unnecessary injuries. Avoid wearing loose clothing because it snags easily. Also, exposed skin can get scratched or cut easily.
  • Safety gloves: Use a pair of heavy-duty gardening gloves. Not only will they protect your hands from flying twigs, but they will help you grip the hedge trimmer safely.

4. Hold the Hedge Trimmer Correctly to Avoid Injuries

Always operate the hedge trimmer with both hands and grip the power firmly.

Top safety tips for hedge trimmers: When holding the trimmer, always ensure your thumb is under the grip and that your thumb and fingers are never on the same side as the handle.

5. Start at the Base of the Hedge or Shrub

Using a hedge trimmer safely requires knowing the proper techniques to trim a hedge.

When cutting a hedge, start at the bottom and work your way upward to the top. Always move the trimmer slowly and steadily, allowing the blades to do the cutting. Don’t try to trim too much off the hedge on your first pass because you might accidentally remove too many branches. Therefore, it’s best to make several shallow passes, removing only a couple of inches of hedge foliage each time.

It’s also good practice to trim the hedge sides at an angle so that the base is wider than the top. This allows enough sunlight to filter through to the lower branches and root system, ensuring the hedge produces lush, green foliage and flowers.

To trim the top of a hedge safely, keep the cutting blade level and use a sweeping motion to trim off a little of the foliage at a time. Suppose the top of the hedge is above hedge height. In that case, it is best to use a pole hedge trimmer to avoid overstretching or standing on stepladders.

Top safety tip when trimming hedges: As soon as you finish trimming, release the trigger to stop the cutting action. Never keep the blade action going if you are not cutting foliage.

How to Maintain Your Hedge Trimmer After Use — Essential Safety Tips

Maintenance is vital for hedge trimmer safety. Therefore, after use, you should clean the cutting blades, check for any loose screws or fittings, and then lubricate the blades. This way, your trimmer will be in optimal condition each time you use it in the garden.

Here are reasons why hedge trimmer maintenance is connected to safety:

  • Clean the cutting blades: Sap from twigs and branches accumulate on the blade. In time, this impacts the efficiency of the cutting action. This can result in taking more effort to trim hedges or causing the motor to overheat.
  • Tighten loose bolts: The vibration action of the dual cutting blades can cause parts to come loose. Blades or other moving parts that break at high speed can cause serious injury.
  • Lubricate blades after each use: Lubricating blades will help keep your hedge trimmer working like new. In addition to maintaining the cutting action, oil prevents the steel blades from moisture.

It’s also recommended to sharpen hedge trimmer blades after every 50 hours of use.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using a Hedge Trimmer

Trim Hedges Safely

Hedge trimmers are an excellent tool for keeping your hedges in check. However, there are some mistakes to avoid if you want to use your hedge trimmer safely. Here are a few things to avoid when trimming hedges with a power tool:

  • Don’t trim hedges and shrubs too close to the ground, as you risk kicking up stones.
  • Never run with a hedge trimmer in hand
  • Avoid trimming off too much foliage at a time
  • Keep yourself safe when trimming hedges by never standing on stepladders
  • Don’t forget to use garden twine to get straight edges on your hedgerows
  • Never use a hedge trimmer in the rain
  • Don’t forget to use protective gear when working with power tools in the garden


Using a hedge trimmer is an excellent investment for maintaining hedges, shrubs, and bushes in your yard. However, they can be dangerous if misused. Therefore, it’s vital to know how to use a hedge trimmer safely and avoid common mistakes that could lead to an accident.