Winter months are a good time to catch up with hedge cutting. Always start at the base, a clean line with the first pass of the hedge trimmer or shears allows all the low straggly growth to be seen for the cut. Start at the top and all these clippings fall to the ground obscuring the base cut. Nothing spoils the look of a garden than these straggly shoots growing up through next year’s border display. At the same time look through the hedge and see if there are any woody seedlings germinating and reaching up through the interior of the hedge. Elderberry and Brambles are often the worst offenders, the result of roosting bird droppings. Growth is rapid soon sucking moisture and nutrients and then light from the hedge. Prune back without damaging the hedge species and then carefully dig out the root. When young, the seedling may just pull out.

Indiscriminate shoot from base of Beech hedge
Sambucus seedling in Beech hedge base