A client recently asked me what the difference is between trimming, clipping and pruning…
In strict horticultural terms, trimming is reserved for small shrubs and hedges, clipping for hedges and pruning for large shrubs and trees.
A further distinction, though less clearly defined, concerns the degree of severity: trimming implies light, selective cutting, primarily to keep the hedge tidy; pruning suggests remedial and/or major surgery (e.g. removing dead or dying branches) while clipping les somewhere between the two – an all-over trim if you like.
So, a well maintained hedge will not require pruning unless it is damaged by wind, waterlogging, pests or disease; it can be trimmed throughout its growing season and clipped generally in spring and summer – but do check as it does depend on the species.
PS: Whether you are trimming, clipping or pruning, make clearing up a doddle by placing a sheet (preferably waterproof) on the ground to collect the debris. The one in the picture is from alibaba.com – other sheets are available, including that old one n your linen cupboard!