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Privet hedge - suppressing weeds

Hi all,

Just spent an afternoon hand weeding under this privet hedge (next to a sloping driveway).  See below pics.

Lots of geum, bindweed, grass, euphorbia etc.  The hedge is west-facing, so the area underneath gets a lot of sun in the afternoon.  Main stems are towards my neighbour's house, so the hedge doesn't quite cover this area.

Any thoughts on suppressing the weeds?  I've never seen ground cover used under a hedge (e.g. lamium maculatum, ivy, winter aconite), and would be mindful of it creeping into the neighbour's side.  Perhaps gravel, but this will just get full of organic material for weeds to grow in e.g. leaf litter.  Wood chippings or decomposed bark?


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 5,048
    I'd use wood chippings or bark, quite a thick layer. You will have to replenish it every 2 yrs or so but weeds are easily seen and pulled out if they do grow. Bindweed will be easier to spray if that comes back, as long as you hold a big bit of cardboard against the hedge to protect it. It is also easier to put a tarp down first before you prune the hedge.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 632
    I'd just spray that strip 3-4x a year. Mulch will get full of clippings whenever you trim it. 
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 773
    Wood chippings or bark work but you need to completely remove perennial weeds. It suppresses smaller weeds like oxalis and annual weeds well, but it won't help against bindweed.
  • We use wood chip, it is cheap or free if you go to a tree felling company, effective and environmentally friendly too.
  • johnterryjohnterry Posts: 27
    Thanks all for your advice.  Will use wood chippings or bark, put a tarpaulin down when cutting the hedge, and spray the bindweed when it emerges.

    Was slightly worried about wood chippings depleting the soil of nitrogen, but the RHS mentions that this isn't a problem for well-estabished plants (so long as it's on the surface and no dug in -
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,006
    I wonder if a mulch of seaweed would work?  Also free if you live near enough to the coast, but you'd have to gather an awful lot.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 2,084
    I have snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) filling in the base of my privet hedge where nothing much else (except weeds and ivy) will grow. It faces East-ish and gets sun to mid-afternoon. An annual hack back to the ground when the flowers fade is all the care it gets except for pulling out bits that spread forwards into the border, and it doesn't seem to mind if bits get pulled up with the hedge clippings.
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