Document Type


Publication Date



shearing, hedges, south dakota, landscapes, maintenance

Extension Number

ExEx 6034


Hedges are a common feature of many South Dakota residential landscapes. A hedge is a row of tightly spaced shrubs or trees, usually of a single species, that function and are maintained as if they were a single plant. They are used to delineate boundaries between neighbors, screen views, accent flower borders, and help direct snow and wind movement. In order for a hedge to provide these and many other benefits, it must receive annual maintenance. This Extension Extra covers the proper application of shearing to maintain deciduous and evergreen hedges. Shearing involves the heading of the current year’s shoot growth and differs from pruning. Pruning is covered in the Extension Extra 6033, Pruning Deciduous Shrubs. Shearing makes use of heading cuts. Heading is shearing the shoot tip back to a stub (Figure 1). Since shearing hedges involves the removal of the terminal bud of a growing shoot, it is also sometimes referred to as pinching.