How to Cut Hedge with Chainsaw

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Do you own a chainsaw, and you want to cut hedges but don’t know how to? If yes, then you are certainly in the right place at the right. 

Cutting hedge with chainsaw is quite easy as long as you know the right steps to do so. The method basically involves locating and inspecting the hedge, clearing the area, cutting the hedges, cutting down the branches, collecting the branches, cleaning the area. Even though technically you can use a chainsaw as a hedge trimmer, nothing can beat the actual hedge trimming device/tool. Generally, a chainsaw will work tremendously well for trimming thick branches and foliage too. As long as you are having full control of your chainsaw, it’ll be safe for trimming hedges. However, depending on the hedge’s size and how thick it is, your chainsaw can become hazardous pretty quickly.

In this article, you will get to know all about cutting hedges, can you use a chainsaw for trimming hedges, how to cut hedge with chainsaw, how to trim hedges with a chainsaw, what bushes will be the hardest to cut, and more. Stick around to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Cutting Hedges Using a Chainsaw

Hedges come in different shapes and sizes, both in terms of length and width. These nature-made fences create a serene boundary while keeping unwanted intrusion out. 

They require maintenance and care for holding their shape and keeping their beauty intact. Like humans, they also require tools for doing that. Even though hedges have a specific tool made solely for them, it will be possible that you might not have it.

However, say that you have a chainsaw, and it might be the reason you are here. If yes, you need to know how to cut hedge with chainsaw safely and efficiently.

If you’re new to using a chainsaw, or you have been using it for a while, it’ll be obvious that it is a big power tool. A hedge is a shrub that is abundant in stems and leaves. 

When you are using a tool like a chainsaw, proper safety measures must be taken. But before doing that, you should ensure that you read the user manual that comes with the chainsaw.

Can you Use a Chainsaw on Hedges

As long as you’ve got complete control of the chainsaw, it should be safe for trimming hedges. Depending on the size of the hedge and how thick the hedge is, the chainsaw can become hazardous quite quickly.

One of the primary reasons many people prefer staying away from chainsaws is the amount of power it generates. Even though it can be nice for trimming large hedges, using such a powerful piece of equipment on delicate shrubs can easily result in a disaster.

Luckily, most chainsaws automatically shut down if they get out of control. This is why you should try and only use equipment that comes with added safety features. The last thing that you’d want to do is accidentally hurt yourself and kill the bushes while trying to make them look cleaner.

Safety Precautions to Take Before Cutting Hedges with a Chainsaw

Here are the precautions that you need to take before you start cutting hedges with your chainsaw –

  • Wear the safety goggles
  • Wear protective gloves 
  • You need to wear noise-canceling headphones 
  • Use a safety helmet as well
  • Wear chainsaw chaps to keep your legs safe 

Once you’re wearing the necessary safety gear and are taking proper precautions, you can use your chainsaw for cutting, trimming, and reducing the hedges. In all cases, first, you have to ensure that the hedges are not home to any bird or animal. You will only be able to proceed if you are adhering to these measures.

How to Cut Hedge with Chainsaw

Hedges have thin barks that can be compared to trees, but their barks are sometimes hidden in the bundle of their leaves and stems. The big ones such as conifer hedges can be treated as trees too. Here are the steps on how to cut hedge with chainsaw –

Step 1: Locate and inspect the hedges

  • Check and locate any possible birds or animals living in or on the hedges
  • Before you start cutting, it will be a good practice to mark the branches that you want to cut 

Step 2: Clearing the area

Now, you need to clear out the area around the bark if this is your target.

Step 3: Cut down the hedges

professional hedge cutter, trimming hedges of plants in garden

When you are dealing with the hedge, the entire thickness of its bark must be inspected. The thin ones can be easily taken down with straight cuts for a bigger one.

  • First, locate the bark 
  • Clean out the surrounding area using your chainsaw
  • You should place your chainsaw at a 70-degree angle where you’ll want the hedge to fall 
  • Then, make horizontal cuts that meet at that angle 

Here is how to cut thin ones –

  • Place the battery-powered chainsaw horizontally on the bark’s visible regions
  • You should ensure that you are on the side opposite where the hedge will be falling 
  • Slowly, make straight cuts from one side to the other 

Step 4: Cut down the branches

If your goal is simply to cut down the unwanted branches, first, you should make sure that it isn’t home to an animal. If it is, then you should ensure that you remove it.

Then, you need to place your chainsaw at a 30-degree angle and then make swift cuts.

If you wish to shape the hedge, then precision will be needed. It would be easy to achieve that on bigger ones. Meanwhile, small and medium ones can get damaged.

  • Place your chainsaw in the desired direction 
  • Ensure that it is below your waist 
  • Now, make straight cuts from top to bottom 
  • Cut only 10-20 percent at a time
  • Slow the speed when you’re finishing to get a clean shape 

How to Cut the Hedges in Half Using a Chainsaw

Whether you want to cut the hedge vertically to make way or horizontally to size it down, a chainsaw can be the ideal tool. You can also cut them to make them half in size. Here are the steps to do so –

  • Place your chainsaw at the desired height and at a horizontal angle 
  • Move the chainsaw steadily in line until the edge of the hedge 
  • Once you have made the cut, remove the upper half and then trim extra branches for making the cut clean 

Here are the steps to cut the hedge in half to make a pathway –

  • First, you should map out the desired length 
  • Then, make multiple vertical cuts from top to bottom on each side of the mapped outline 
  • Now, cut the barks horizontally at the bottom 
  • Lastly, remove the cutout to do the final trimming for a clean-cut path 

Can you Use Chainsaws for Trimming Hedges

Yes, if you haven’t got a hedge trimmer, you can always use a chainsaw. However, chainsaws have a comparatively rougher approach, often cutting through the hedges too aggressively and too fast.

A chainsaw will be helpful if the hedge has thicker branches. It is recommended that you should look closely at how delicate or sturdy the plant is before deciding if the chainsaw is the right fit.

Many garden experts claim that the chainsaw can cut equally well for larger projects, but it won’t be good for smaller, finer growing hedges. Even though this can work, it might not be worth the trouble in every situation.

A pair of hedge trimmers will be a good option whether the bushes grow thick or not, as they’ll be able to handle more intricate shaping. Say that you want to round off the hedges, it might not always be possible with your chainsaw.

How to Trim Hedges with the Chainsaw

A chainsaw can be used to cut down trees and thick wood. Meanwhile, hedges will have numerous branches small in size. Hence, it will require low power and finesse if you want to avoid any damage to the hedges. Here is how you can trim the hedges with the chainsaw –

  • Put your chainsaw on the angle that you wish to trim it
  • Move the chainsaw in the desired direction slowly 
  • Only trim a little bit at a time as trimming too much could cause unwanted damage to the hedges 
  • Remember to keep your chainsaw steady when you’re trimming hedges
Hedge Cutting With A Chainsaw (How to Carefully and Tactfully Prune Your Hedge with a Chainsaw)

Do you Need to Trim Hedges

Even though you don’t need to trim the hedges, doing so will make the hedges look better. Generally, the hedges must be manicured throughout the year.

However, depending on if and when they bloom, you might have to trim as much. For instance, many experts recommend that you should trim flowering hedges once they bloom in the spring or summer.

On the other hand, if you haven’t got a flowering or fruiting hedge, you will be able to trim it whenever you want. This could be once every month or once every few months, depending on how quickly it grows.

It is also good to determine why you’re growing hedges. Do you need them for privacy? Are the hedges for a pop of color or for aesthetics? It will affect how big or small you need to let the hedges grow.

Difference Between a Chainsaw and Hedge Trimmers

For homeowners wondering if there is a difference between chainsaws and hedge trimmers, then you should know that there is. One of the similarities that a chainsaw and hedge trimmer share is that they come with a bar and can be either electric or gas-powered.

However, this is where the similarities end. One of the primary differences is that a chainsaw is made for cutting through trees, branches, and hard materials. A hedge trimmer, on the other hand, is created for shaping thinner surfaces and offers more precision.

A chainsaw will work by pushing the branches aside, while a hedge trimmer is for cutting off the ends of small branches. 

Therefore, the basic ways in which the two machines work are very different.

You can think of a chainsaw as the more aggressive and hard-core option, whereas hedge trimmers are gentle and precise. Another way of separating them is to think of chainsaws as structural and hedge trimmers as aesthetic. Further, you will have more risks of hurting yourself when using a chainsaw.

Bushes that are the Hardest to Shape

In case you run into any problem with shaping the hedges, there can be an issue with them and not you. Typically, the thicker and denser a hedge, the harder it will be to maintain. Specifically, these hedges or shrubs happen to be the hardest to shape –

  • Ninebark
  • Shrub roses
  • Japanese Spirea 
  • Smoke bush
  • Annabelle
  • Juniper
  • Redtwig dogwood
  • Witch hazel 

There are many others, so this can be quite difficult for you and your equipment. Luckily, more difficult plants will respond better to a chainsaw than standard hedge trimmers, so it’ll be good to be aware of this.

Remember, some bushes are not actually meant to stay small and perfectly manicured. That’s why you might want to allow them to sprawl and mature into full-sized plants.

How Big Should you Allow your Hedges to Grow

The best size for a hedge will be around six to ten feet tall. Considering that most people use hedges as borders of their homes, you’ll want to grow one that can become large.

Therefore, choosing vaster species will be a great idea. Many experts recommend that you should research a hedge before you plant it. You should see if it’d become big enough such that you are keeping it to no more than three-quarters of the height once they mature.

The primary purpose of hedging will be to create a manicured plant. So, you wouldn’t want something that becomes way too big or grows too wild in the landscaping.


Will a chainsaw be suitable for cutting hedges?

Yes, it definitely is. A chainsaw is essentially a strong and sharp tool used for cutting down trees, cutting wood, hedge leveling, and more. A hedge can be torn into pieces easily using a chainsaw.

Is a chainsaw a suitable option for trimming the hedges?

Even though a chainsaw might not be as precise as a hedge trimmer, it’ll get the job done. If you’ve got a steady hand with the chainsaw, you will be able to get delicate trims. For a better outcome, it is recommended that you should get a mini chainsaw.

Are there any differences between hedge trimmers and chainsaws?

A hedge trimmer is essentially a tool made especially for shaping and trimming the ends of a hedge, while a chainsaw is a powerful tool that is used for cutting down trees and used in limber.

Can a chainsaw cut branches better than a hedge trimmer?

Yes, one of the reasons that a chainsaw is incredibly popular is its power. A chainsaw can cut through larger branches easily, which means it’ll help you get the job done quicker than other options. Meanwhile, a hedge trimmer will cut the ends or tips of small-medium branches. You cannot try and use a hedge trimmer to carry out larger projects, whereas you shouldn’t use a chainsaw for smaller ones.

This doesn’t always mean that a chainsaw is better than a hedge trimmer, but it makes the chainsaw more powerful. A chainsaw could be the better choice if the hedge is hardy and in need of significant reshaping.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.