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Problem privet..


We planted our golden privet 'Ligustrum ovalifolium' last spring as bare root single stem plants. Up until now they have been thriving, but in the past couple of weeks a number of them have started going silvery and eventually died right back as shown in the third image. Does anybody have any idea what could be causing this and how, if possible we can remedy it? Many thanks! 


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Is it in a row or just random plants? On the third photo, there looks like one still in green? It could be root rot. So many things can be causing this to happen. How are you watering this shrub? Even though it was planted last year, in terms of shrubs, you have to treat them with care and make sure they are watered regularly, especially in very hot and dry spells. Young plants also need free draining soil as there is no rain shadow yet. The soil looks very rich in the photo.

  • Thank you Borderline,

    They are in a row and it is just half way down the row that this starts to happen.  There is plenty of drainage there but not sure about the soil.  I added some compost at the start of spring as I thought it might enrich the soil. 

    We did have a very late frost and have also had some extremely hot days over the past month or so.  I thought I had watered them well but maybe not enough! 

    Do you think these will recover or will I need to replace them??

    Many thanks

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    It is hard to say from the picture, there is a saying that if you snip a largest stem and it's still pale inside, it's alive. Not sure this is the best idea. They do look very dry and finished. Did you see any kind of disfigured leaf problems prior to this happening? I know you mentioned silvery colour, but that could be mildew and leaves drying up.

    In your initial post, it sounded like it happend very quickly. I would leave it in its place. Cut off some ends to shorten the size of the bush, so in case it revives, the new growth starts from stronger stems. Continue to water as usual but try to dress your newly planted row with good bark-chip mulch cover. Remember, in the early years, you are trying to create an enviornment where there will be less extremes for the root area.

    Also, a suggestion to help your plant bulk up, prune them a bit to create more new lower down side shoots. Leggy and gappy plants can create root rock and stress. They will still grow tall, but with a more stronger base area rather than rely on one stem to support a whole bush.

  • I only noticed when the leaves started going silvery and looking at them again more closely they do look really dry and starting to curl.

    I'm not sure when I should prune, the healthy ones  have just finished flowering. Would you suggest I start to cut them back now? 

    Thanks again 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Leave the pruning till next year, around early spring time. Because they are so young, it's just a light shape to encourage more side shoots. I hope the dried plants will rejuvenate too.

  • Many thanks I really appreciate your help.  Have a good summer. 

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