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Dying Privet Hedge (PHOTOS ATTACHED)

Hi all,

I have a 90ft Privet hedge on boths sides of my back garden. I believe it was planted in the 1920’s when my house was built like all other neighbouring houses.

Unfortunately, for 15 years or so it has been dying back on both sides a few feet each year. No other types of vegetation have been affected. 

The dying process as follows: leaves begin to discolour to a purple/red, fall off and then the bark peels with black blotches, then that section of the hedge dies, eventually you can pull the whole trunks out of the ground very easily. 

I have now lost around 50% of my Privet hedge and want to avoid losing the rest. I live in a high flooding area which is marshland which causes my garden to take until late spring to become not boggy. (Photo below of neighbour’s garden showing how waterlogged it can get) 

Please find numerous photos below giving you an insight into my Privet hedge.

I look forward to hearing any feedback or suggestions to saving this Privet Hedge.  

Many thanks, 



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,415
    There are so many huge photos here my slow broadband would take weeks to bring them all in. I haven't seen a complete photo yet

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Can't see the photos either! Have you had a look at the RHS site? It may have some information. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,536
    Me neither Nut. Even a small one takes over a minute!
  • I can see all the photos looks like either the hedge has decided it's to of to grow anymore with can happen ocaisanally or you have a fungal infection but sorry can't identity what 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,855
    i think it might be honey fungus. Those stems with the white stuff on them, peel a bit of the bark back and see if you can see anything which looks like black bootlaces
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    I managed to get all the photos opened on my phone. It’s very worn out very similar to a lot of very established hedges. Suffering from some fungal infection. Not as serious as it sounds. Good air circulation and ensuring the soil conditions are in good shape.

    Due its age. The constant shearing will eventually expose the shrub to wood. In extreme situations like drought and very cold windy weather, the wood can start dying back. Many of the photos are of dead wood. Prune them back to branches that look more healthy looking. The healthier branches will eventually grow to smother those areas.

    Make sure you collect dead leaves and remove promptly around the base to avoid the cycle of re-infection. Lay a thick layer of compost or bark chip. In the really large gaps, you can plant some young plants and they will quickly cover the large gaps in about two years.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,482
    I would say with certainty that it has honey fungus. My privet has suffered with it as well over the years. Ive had to remove the dead sections and replace with privet I find for sale locally.

    Honey fungus can grow from dead trees stumps and the roots. Cherry trees are prone to it as well. Do you have either in your garden?

    There was a product available for treating honey fungus but it was banned in recent years, however it has been rebranded as a patio cleaner, but apparently it is the exact same product. When I remember its name (I have a bottle of it in the garage) I'll let you know.
  • We have had honey fungus on part our privet hedge for approx. 30 years. The hedge was over 100 years old, so had done well to last so long, it was a good wind break and acted as a privacy barrier from the road.  We removed the first few bushes to be affected about 20 years ago using (I think) Armatylox sorry for the spelling, which has since been banned - perhaps that is the product you were referring to LeadFarmer?  The treatment seemed to work well as within 5 years we were able to plant more privet which grew well. The honey fungus had a musty decaying smell and we could take a sample to be analysed at a testing laboratory.  Unfortunately that wasn't the end of the honey fungus - it is difficult to eradicate once it is in the soil/air. Even if you don't have honey fungus - getting nearly 100 years worth of life from a hedge is pretty darn good in my opinion.
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,482
    Thats the one, though google reveals it to be spelt Armillatox.

    Honey Fungus - Armillaria mellea

    As from 25th July 2003, Armillatox has become 'Armillatox Soap Based Outdoor Cleaner' so taking it out of the pesticides regulations - the formulation remains the same. 

    Armillatox cannot be claimed as a Honey Fungus treatment but because it is exactly the same formulation as it was in the days when it was called a Honey Fungus treatment (in fact, Armillatox was invented for this purposes - hence the name) that as a side effect of using the chemical as a soap based garden cleaner, Honey Fungus can be treated.

    By treating the lower trunk of a healthy tree with a 20:1 solution of Armillatox and water, a tree or shrub can be inoculated against the 'bootlace' Rhizomes reaching your trees, the Rhizomorphs will surface, sporolate and send the resulting mycelia in search of dead and decaying wood.

    It used to look like this...

  • Posts: 127
    IME fungus can only survive where there's lack of ventilation. Two years ago I drastically thinned a 100 year old hedge to the point where you could see through it. It's now looking lush. A relief I can tell you! 
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