Ladders for cutting hedges
Cutting back overgrown hedges
Choosing the best ladder for cutting hedges can be a daunting task. There are so many different types of ladders to choose from, and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a way to save time and effort, then this blog post is just what you need! We’ve got everything covered from the height of your hedge and the choices of ladder access, to the length of your ladder.
The one paramount issue here is safety. By the nature of the task at hand, you will either be using manual shears or labour saving electrically powered cutters. Either way, you need to ensure that what you are standing on is up to the job.
The implications of it not being fit for purpose is unthinkable! For hedge or tree cutting at lower heights, either a combination ladder & platform or a hop up might be more suitable. You can read more about combination ladders in our article on combination ladders here and also more about hop up platforms in our article on hop up platforms here.
There are a few factors to consider before looking into how you are going to reach and shape higher hedges. For instance, what size or type of hedge do I have?…. how tall am I?…what type and size ladder should I buy?…where will my ladder be stored when not in use?
These are all things we’ll discuss in this article.
Best ladders for cutting high hedges
The are a number of different solutions to get yourself safely to a manageable height to maintain your hedges. These are either “Tripod” ladders, “Mobile platforms” or standard ‘A’ frame ladders.
The most important things to consider at this point are how confident you are at using access systems and getting yourself elevated, and to remember that you will most probably not have any hands free whilst standing on them. It only takes a small moment to slightly over reach and to send ladders one way while you go the opposite way!
Tripod ladders for hedge trimming
Using a tripod ladder to cut a tall hedge can mostly be the best solution, but it is always a good idea to be aware of the pros and cons of using tripod ladders.
First and foremost, tripod ladder prices tend to be higher than normal ladders, which can make them unaffordable for some people. This is because there are more to them and generally they are higher. In addition, tripod ladders will need some assembly before they can actually be used, so there’s no such thing as an ‘instant hedge trimmer’.
Another thing to consider when using tripod ladders to trim tall hedges is that in some cases, the user might end up cutting off too much or too little foliage depending on how steady the tripod is when standing on uneven ground.
Consider if your hedges are adjacent to a block paved or tarmac driveway, or are they next to a soft lawn?
Finally, if one isn’t very careful after climbing down from their tripod ladder on uneven ground, this may lead to a fall which could result in a very serious injury.
This is particularly true if the tripod base gets caught between roots or stones on the ground and it won’t be able to stand up straight anymore.
That being said, most, if not all tripod ladders will have additional horizontal stabiliser bars located at their bases. This helps lateral stability by giving the ladder a larger ‘foot print’.
Care must still be taken however to keep your weight central and within the foot print of the ladder and also ensuring that the ladder is on stable ground. Top tips are to ensure the footing is level and to use something non compressible under the feet if the ladder is located typically on soft grass.
Closing thoughts about using tripod ladders for hedges is that they may not always give better results when compared with other methods of trimming tall hedges. As demonstrated above, there are several aspects associated with tripod ladders and these have to be taken into consideration before actually buying one.
It is often advisable therefore only to buy tripod ladders after considering all options carefully. Finally, even though tripod ladders may be slightly more expensive, it is still to important to use tripod ladders as safely and responsibly as possible as these are usually purchased for tackling higher hedges and trees.
Platform ladders for hedge cutting
Using a platform ladder to cut tall hedges is again a great way to save substantial amounts of time and energy, however, platform ladders can be dangerous if you not put them together correctly. You must follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter. If you’re thinking about using a platform ladder for cutting tall hedges, read on to find out the benefits and risks of this process.
Hedge cutting platform
First of all let’s talk about the main benefits. When used correctly, platform ladders allow gardeners to reach higher places safely and with ease without having to climb up or down steep steps repeatedly.
This not only saves both your back muscles and time spent reaching that top hedge, but massively reduces the risk of an accident.
Risks of a fall naturally increase with the frequency you go up and down a ladder. They reduce the amount of times you travel up and down.
Platform ladders however are not just helpful in terms of being able to cut higher hedges more easily, as just mentioned, they also reduce to potential for nasty accidents such as falling from very high levels, since it is much easier to remain stable while cutting hedges on a platform ladder.
Good quality platform ladders have a solid construction, strong hinges that allow them to stay open even when not fully extended as well as non-slip steps which prevent accidents from happening due to slipping feet. Many are very flexible because as well as being able to act as a platform, they can also be used as an ‘A’ frame and a straight ladder.
This can also justify the purchase as their uses are really flexible. To ensure maximum safety, it is important that you follow some simple guidelines such as wearing sturdy shoes with good grip, using both hands while climbing up or down and never standing on any part of the platform other than the platform itself.
Ladders for trimming hedges
Using ‘A’ frame ladders to cut hedges is a great way to get the job done quickly and usually safely if basic safety principles are followed. ‘A’ frame ladders are designed with convenience and multi purpose in mind.
If chosen carefully, they’re sturdy, safe, lightweight and compact which makes them perfect for cutting hedges.
‘A’ frame ladders are very versatile so they can be used not only for cutting but also pruning, removing limbs from trees or bushes at lower levels. I say at lower levels because you must assess the height you need to reach.
Most, if not all ‘A’ frame ladders do not extend further than the hinged top of the frame. (Tripod ladders extend further to gain extra height and give you something to hold onto)
Best ladders for hedge cutting
Okay, let’s cover the important things to think about so far. We have a choice of standard ‘A’ frame ladders, we have tripod ladders and finally, platform ladders. They all have different price points and all provide different main features.
These namely are their individual levels of stability, flexibility and height they can reach whilst remaining stable. We have found what we think fits best in each ladder category listing out the pros and cons.
3 Leg Adjustable 3 metre Aluminium Tripod Ladder with Built in Platform
What we like:
Comes in 3 or 4 metre heights
Legs are adjustable to cope with uneven ground
Made from aluminium so light but strong
150kg Maximum load
3 legs give a stable base
What could be better:
The 4 metre version takes some getting used to!
Care must be taken on softer ground
Rubber feet covers are extra
Tripod ladders by their nature obviously have three legs, two on the main ladder and a third which acts like an outrigger. The main ladders are connected to the outrigger by a metal chain for safety. Built with safety in mind when working at heights on uneven ground, the three adjustable legs adjust independently up to approximately 18 inches (45cm).
This makes this tripod ladder system extremely versatile on uneven ground. They even have enough adjustment cope with being pitched on steps. The tripod design structure gives a great sense of stability compared with traditional stepladders.
These ladders are ideal for almost all high level garden tasks. Optional rubber feet can be ordered in case they are needed inside. The feet have a widened circular base minimising pressure on softer ground. We felt that on softer ground, a non compressible pad of timber for example should be used.
On hard ground, the feet perform great. Perfect for very high hedges.
This ladder system has been professionally hand welded to give them a maximum capacity of 150 Kg.
VOUNOT 3-in-1 Aluminium Multifunctional Platform Ladder
What we like:
3 ladders in 1 system – Straight, A Frame and Platform
Wide stabiliser bars on feet increasing its footprint
Handy wheels for moving around
What could be better:
Max height of platform is limited if you want to keep the height of the safety bar at waist height.
We wanted to include this 3 in 1 multi functioning platform ladder because of its flexibility and value for money with what you get from it. This is perfect for lower to medium height hedging. This well designed system functions as an ‘A’ Frame ladder, a straight ladder and a working platform.
This is perfect most indoor and outdoor tasks from hedge cutting to decorating so it’s multi uses are appealing. When in the platform position, it gives you maximum safety and allows you to walk along it and have a safety rail. The drastically reduces risk and maximises convenience and speed.
For slightly higher tasks with a short to medium duration, the ‘A’ Frame position is perfect and feels very stable due to the wide stabiliser bars. It’s final position is the straight ladder. This allows you to reach much higher for shorter duration tasks. It’s made from lightweight aluminium and affords a maximum load of 150 Kg so will cope with most users.
A couple of very handy features are the wheels at the bottom allowing easy movement when it’s in its platform setup and a tool holder to keep your hands free.
Slip resistant rubber feet on the stabiliser bars also protect hardwood flooring as well giving grip.
TB Davies Aluminium Premier XL 6 Tread Step Ladders
What we like:
Comes in 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 tread versions
Excellent price point
Suitable for inside and outside jobs
Top tool tray is magnetised
Has additional side handrails
What could be better:
Could benefit from additional stabiliser bars
Would need additional packing under feet on soft ground
This lightweight stepladder from well known maker TB Davies is well worth considering. What we liked was that it came in several options which caters for the specific tasks you have. The 3 tread version takes you up to a platform height of 610mm.
The 4 tread version – 825mm, the 5 tread version – 1045mm, the 6 tread version – 1265mm and finally the daddy, the 7 tread version taking you up to a platform height 1480mm.
Its twin handrails are a great feature and sadly lacking on other ladders. This makes for an easy climb to the top platform. Another great design feature we like is that when standing on the top platform, the tool tray is much higher helping you to brace yourself against it.
The integrated multi function tool tray as we just mentioned is magnetised which is a great touch when you have small metal objects at high level. The large top platform tread is comfortable to work from for short periods of time.
It’s lightweight too. At only 7.8 Kg, it heavy enough to feel robust and well made whilst keeping it manageable.
We felt that to make it even better than it was, it could of benefitted from some stabiliser bars but that wasn’t a feature on these ladders. You also need to take extra care if pitching these ladders on soft ground as the feet could dig in causing you to topple over. It’s not really a design flaw, it just needs thinking about.
When you’ve decided what type of ladder to use, make sure it’s the right one for your needs. The main things to consider are the height you need to achieve and the duration of your task. You also need to remember that you may need to use both hands to operate an additional gardening trimmer.
This means you will find it difficult to grab something if you lose your balance. If you need a tall ladder, choose a tripod ladder. This will be more stable and easier to climb than an A-frame or extension ladders which can topple over when they’re not positioned correctly.
For hedges that may require multiple people to trim, consider using platform ladders in order to create a suitable platform for stability and safety. One person should stand on each side facing inward ensuring the safety handrail is behind them.
Choosing the correct ladder for your needs is vitally important and you need to ensure that you feel comfortable, confident and safe while cutting your hedges.