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Privet Hedges losing their leaves - a more widespread problem

There's been a few posts regarding Privet hedges that are losing their leaves, and parts dying off.  I'm in north London, and our hedge, both our adjoining neighbours, plus hedges in other gardens along our street, plus gardens a few streets away, that are all suffering in the same manner. If it gets worse, no doubt it will come to the attention of the RHS. Unfortunately I know not the cause of a solution, just to inform other 'sufferers' that you are not alone.


  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,366
    Privets are not evergreen shrubs , they are classed as semi evergreen. They can start to lose their leaves during a cold spell in winter, the leave will go a funny black / brown colour. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,828
    edited January 2019
    I think that a dry summer stressing the plants has encouraged a lot of privet to shed more leaves than usual this winter.

    It’s not that unusual really ... they’re usually regarded as ‘semi-evergreen’ rather than totally evergreen ... see the description here

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,051
    if it's uniformly losing leaves evenly , all over, I'd not worry, but if it's very concentrated in just one are, it might be a problem
  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,107
    edited January 2019
    I nearly posted something similar - I too (in SE London) have noticed that almost all privet I see has lost more leaves than is usual and that those leaves left behind have changed colour more than is usual. They don't look sick or diseased, nor is it in patches - in fact, if anything I would say it's more uniform than in most years. Usually some hedges seem to lose / change more than others, whereas this year it's striking in its uniformity.

    I think it must be the hot, dry summer, or possibly the combination of that and the long, cold spring. Interesting though.

    Funnily enough, I've also been thinking how much I like privet this year!
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,166
    I wonder as it's London, would pollution also be a factor? 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,032
    I have lots of wild privet, we have had around a month of very cold, dry weather and its turned a bronzy purple - quite attractive really!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,107
    I don't think pollution levels have changed that significantly since last year that all privet would be so noticeably different. Also, I  would imagine that if it *has* reached some kind of tipping point, there would be more variation in different locations. But it's the uniformity that is noticeable - which is what makes me lean toward the drought more than the Beast. The whole area was in drought, whereas some bits would be more protected than others from freezing. I'm just musing though.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Happens to ours every year in autumn and winter.

    Six years in on a new privet boundary. One side of the garden turns pale yellow and sickly (windy side), the other side (bit sheltered) turns redish purple.

    We’re in Surrey on flint and chalk.

    If I could plant again I’d go for laurel, only time our privets look good are during a short spell of the year in a warm and very wet summer. Our neighbours’ laurels always look glossy and green. 

    We tried a few yew here and there too, they go brown in the winter in parts... 
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