When is the Best Time to Trim Cedar Hedges? A Gardener’s Guide

As a gardener, I’ve often been asked, “When is the best time to trim cedar hedges?” The answer isn’t as simple as picking any random day on the calendar. It’s all about timing and understanding the lifecycle of your cedar.So, let’s get this straight – when should you trim cedar hedges? The ideal trimming period for these beautiful evergreens typically falls between late spring and early summer. This time frame allows trimmed branches to recover before they enter their winter dormancy stage. In areas with harsh winters like Ontario, this is especially important.

Of course, how to trim a cedar hedge is also crucial. You don’t just pick up shears and start hacking away. Instead, you need patience and precision to maintain the perfect shape while promoting healthy growth. But we can leave those details for another day! For now, remember that late spring or early summer is usually considered the best time of year to trim cedar hedges.

Understanding Cedar Hedge Growth

Before we dive into the specifics of when to trim a cedar hedge, it’s crucial we take a moment to understand cedar hedge growth. Cedar hedges, much like other plants, have their own unique growth cycles and understanding these cycles is key in determining the best time to prune or trim them.

Cedar hedges are popular for their thick foliage that provides excellent privacy throughout the year. They are evergreen shrubs that continue to grow all year round but have two major growth spurts – one in spring and another in summer.

To break it down:

  • Spring: This is when new shoots emerge. It’s also known as ‘flushing’. During this period, you’ll notice soft green tips developing on your cedars.
  • Summer: By mid-summer, these new shoots begin to harden off. This means they turn from soft green tips into harder, more mature branches.

These two periods of increased activity significantly impact when you should consider pruning cedar shrubs or trimming a cedar hedge.

Now that we’ve got an understanding of how a cedar hedge grows, let’s delve into detail about when is the best time to trim cedar hedges in Ontario (or anywhere else for that matter).

Conventional wisdom suggests that the best time of year to trim cedar hedges is late spring or early summer. Why? Well, this timing allows us to cut back those fresh new spring shoots before they’ve had a chance to harden off fully by mid-summer.

However, if you missed the window in late spring or early summer; don’t worry! You can still safely do some light pruning during mid-summer before the weather starts cooling down for fall.


  • Avoid heavy pruning after mid-August.
  • Never prune during freezing temperatures as this can damage your cedars.

In conclusion: Timing your trimming right not only keeps your cedars looking neat but also contributes towards healthier and more robust plants!

a woman cutting a hedge.

The Ideal Time to Trim Your Cedar Hedges

When it comes to maintaining your lush, green cedar hedges, timing truly is everything. Many folks ask me, “when’s the best time to trim my cedar hedges?” And I generally answer with the two optimal periods: late spring or early fall.

In late spring, typically around June, your cedars will have finished their initial growth spurt. This makes it an excellent time for a good trim without hampering their health or appearance. It’s all about striking that delicate balance between healthy growth and aesthetic appeal!

On the flip side, if you’re in Ontario like myself, you’ve probably wondered about when to trim cedar hedges in this region specifically. Well, early fall (late September to October) is another ideal window for pruning your cedars here. By this time of year, they’ve done most of their growing but still have enough time before winter sets in to heal any minor damage from trimming.

Now let’s get down into some specifics:

  • When trimming a cedar hedge during these periods:
    • Make sure not to cut too deep into old wood as new growth mainly happens on branch tips.
    • Always use sharp tools for clean cuts which help prevent disease and pest infestations.

You may also wonder: “How often should I be trimming my cedars?” Once a year is usually sufficient – but remember that less is more when it comes to pruning these resilient plants.

So whether you’re wondering when to prune your cedar hedge in Ontario, or simply how often and how much to trim back those branches wherever you are – keep these guidelines in mind! With proper timing and technique, you’ll maintain both the health and beauty of your cedar hedges season after season.

Conclusion: Matching Trimming Time to Hedge Health

Let’s wrap this up by circling back to our key question – when is the best time to trim cedar hedges? It’s clear that timing your trimming can significantly affect the health and appearance of your hedges.

To ensure robust growth, I suggest two primary times for pruning cedar hedges. Early spring, just before new growth begins, is an ideal time. The second best time is in late summer or early fall. Avoid pruning in late fall as it can leave your cedars vulnerable to winter damage.

For those residing in Ontario, you might be wondering about the best time to trim cedar hedges specifically in this region. Similar principles apply – early spring or late summer are generally most suitable.

The ‘how’ part of trimming a cedar hedge also plays a pivotal role. Make sure you’re equipped with sharp shears and take care not to cut into old wood as cedars don’t usually regenerate from old wood.

Now let’s address another common query – when should you trim cedar hedges beyond these suggested periods? If there’s damage due to storms or other unforeseen events, prune immediately regardless of the season.

Here are some additional pointers:

  • Don’t over prune
  • Always sterilize your tools before starting
  • Shape wider at the base for ample sunlight

The precise tuning between ‘when’ and ‘how’ you trim a cedar hedge will inevitably promote its overall health. Remember, each hedge may have unique needs based on location, weather conditions, and specific variety of cedar.

Ultimately, understanding your cedars and catering to their specific needs will help them thrive year-round!

Curb Wise