Hedge trimming

Trimmer looming out of the early morning fog. Note the circular blade to the left--he switched to that later.

Trimmer looming out of the early morning fog next door. Note the circular blade to the left–he switched to that later.

THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! THWACK!

The sound, like a helicopter crashing into a stand of trees, is unmistakable, though the first time I heard it, I had no idea what it was—a giant hedge trimmer.

Hedges are a necessity here on the windswept Canterbury Plains, and autumn is hedge trimming season.

Our hedge, hemmed in by fruit trees and the septic system, has to be trimmed by hand—a full-day job for my husband and me, and one we put off as long as we can every year.

Here's another, snapped along the roadside on the way to town.

Here’s another, snapped along the roadside on the way to town.

Our neighbours, however, have their hedges trimmed by professional hedging contractors. The hedge trimming machines they use are terrifying—giant, armoured vehicles with a long crane arm bearing any one of a number of wicked-looking cutting devices.

There are circular saw blades the size of a man, two-metre wide lawn mower blades, heavy chains that just beat the branches off the hedge. The machines must be Occupational Safety and Health’s worst nightmare. Some have an 18 metre reach, and the result is perfectly trimmed hedges the size of castle battlements.

 

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