Privet Hedge Cutting Worries

I've trimmed many privet hedges but have been asked to lower one down from 8ft to 4ft high.

The problem is that the hedge is one magnificent specimen at the front of two large semi-detached house and the is likely 50+ years old. But one one side, regrettably has to be lowered by a half.

I have lowered the top off the customer's hedge as a test measure on a taper ad it appears to be double-planted i.e. a row of privet in front and a row behind. The upper 'crowns of the stems ' i.e. those that produce the foliage are at least 6ft tall.

I know privet is as tough as hell but blitzing them well below the crown/foliage production point leaves me kind of apprehensive.The hedge will should recover... but will it? And how long do you think it will take to green-up on top?

PLEASE... answers from from people who have carried out such privet invasiveness before would be most appreciated. 

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 25,322

    Hi Dave - when I had a flat (ground floor) it had a tiny strip of garden at the front edged by a privet hedge which was very overgrown and unruly. I hacked it back to about a foot - width as well - so that I could grow a few plants in the little border there.

    I probably took around four or five feet off the height, and a couple of feet off the width. I did nothing much to it, and probably didn't even water it. It grew back no problem and I kept it at about three feet but quite tight in width. We get high rainfall, and privet definitely does better with plenty of water, so I'd think as long as it's watered well, it would be fine. You might want to do it in stages if you're concerned about hacking it all in one go, especially if you're in a dry part of the country. Or leave till it's slightly cooler and more autumnal.

    I do remember someone walking past and questioning me on my pruning ( cheeky bandit!) but I had the last laugh as it did the hedge the world of good.  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    Privet is incredibly tough, if you're going to hack a hedge - privet is the one. Agree with Fairy, keep it watered & even a sprinkling of Fish, Blood & Bone/liquid seaweed will do it no harm if you're apprehensive. Just make clean cuts, it'll bud from any wood easily. 

    Last edited: 28 July 2017 21:48:03

  • Thanks for your help Fairygirl, much appreciated. 

    Am a semi-pro gardeners and pretty good at hedging but this scenario troubles me deeply. A magnificent privet hedge in front of two huge semi-detached houses on a very affluent street.

    The customer want her's lowering by half but I feel a serious detrimental impact could occur n the neighbour's hedge, whom don't want it lowering or weakening.

    Have got to do the dreaded deed tomorrow and if it takes all day with only a the Felcos and and a dow saw, will do it with surgical precision but have a gut feeling it's going to have an adverse effect on the neighbours''s beautiful hedge. Why can't some people live and let live!!!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 25,322

    I can understand your apprehension Dave - I'd feel the same. Could you take a foot or two off all round, give it a thorough soaking, followed a few days later by a dilute seaweed feed as  Mark suggests,  and a good mulch, and then leave it for a month and see how it looks? If all's well , cut  a good bit more off then.

    You can always tell the customer that's the best way of doing it if they're a bit huffy about it! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CFCCFC Posts: 71
    Dave Hedgehog says:

    Thanks for your help Fairygirl, much appreciated. 

    Am a semi-pro gardeners and pretty good at hedging but this scenario troubles me deeply. A magnificent privet hedge in front of two huge semi-detached houses on a very affluent street.

    The customer want her's lowering by half but I feel a serious detrimental impact could occur n the neighbour's hedge, whom don't want it lowering or weakening.

    Have got to do the dreaded deed tomorrow and if it takes all day with only a the Felcos and and a dow saw, will do it with surgical precision but have a gut feeling it's going to have an adverse effect on the neighbours''s beautiful hedge. Why can't some people live and let live!!!

    See original post

     There is no such thing as a magnificent privet hedge IMO!  :)

    I have to hack my hedge back very hard. Last time I got a contractor to do it with a chainsaw as it was just too much for me by hand, life is too short. Right back to bare wood in most places. It springs back, you can't stop it. The best way to contain it is to cut it very hard, in the subsequent years it can easily be maintained then by cutting the young fresh growth.

    Just make sure the customer understands it is going to look like bare twigs until next summer.

    It will have no effect on the neighbour's hedge, except they are not going to like it because they like a massive hedge!

    Last edited: 28 July 2017 22:23:03

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,090

    Hi Dave image. No expert...but I have an old privet, probably planted soon after the houses were built (1930's ?), along the whole street.  

    We moved in in 93, and the one at the front was around 5ft high. I came home from work one day to find that one of the neighbours had convinced my OH to chop it down to less than 2ft image.  I was terribly shocked, to say the least, and there were tears.  My lush green hedge was reduced to a brown, twiggy stump....but it bounced back, after a couple of seasons and is still going strong today image.

    I don't think that the planned chop will kill your clients hedge, if anything, it will invigorate new growth....but I do think you should prepare her for the bare twiggy stage. Which may not be as drastic as mine, if you're only taking the top off and not the sides.  It may take a couple of years at least  before it resembles a tightly packed, dense hedge again, and will need regular trimming to make it "bushy" again. 

    Oh...and I've never fed or watered mine.  Good soil and plenty of rain here in NW UK image

    Last edited: 28 July 2017 23:45:19

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