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Planting after honey fungus

I am after some planting advice. We sadly lost a tree to honey fungus and now our privet hedge is dying one plant at a time- slightly soul destroying. We have dug out as far as we are able and disposed of the soil. 
However the fact the privet is slowly dying suggests we aren’t completely rid of it.
We would like a hedge to maintain privacy as this is our south facing front garden. I’ve been told to avoid box as apparently box blight is an issue, although I’ve seen box is more resistant to honey fungus. 
Does anyone have suggestions of alternatives for a hedge and any low maintenance shrubs I can plant that would hopefully survive? 
(I’ve seen the RHS list but I don’t know what the names are and have been trying googling every single one to research what they look like, what care they need etc but it was taking so long and I kept getting in a muddle so was hoping for some suggestions of what may work.)
thank you


  • We have honey fungus in our front garden too.  It killed a tree this summer.  I was planning a rose hedge but now think yew (Taxus) would be appropriate - it's on the RHS "most resistant" list, and makes a lovely dense hedge, though it's slower growing than privet.  You can get bare root plants too, which makes it cheaper.

    There are loads of resistant shrubs, thankfully.  I don't know what sort of size you're looking for, or whether you've a preference for evergreen or deciduous, time of flowering, colours etc.  If you can give an idea of this, I can look through the list and maybe recommend something... and don't forget that non-woody plants, like annuals and perennial flowers, aren't susceptible so you can fill gaps with those.   :)
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Thanks so much for replying, we have a small retaining wall and the front garden is above the level of the path. So ideally we want something we can keep to approx 2m. Preferably evergreen to give us privacy all year around. Colour wise I’m not too fussed as I can fill in gaps like you say. Thanks again.
  • Sorry, only just seen your post... I'll have a think and reply in the morning.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    We have honey fungus in our garden. I have never looked up the at risk list but we have no trouble at all with beech, holly, hawthorn, rugosa roses, laurel, hornbeam, yew, viburnum, hazel, willow...  In fact, lots of trees and shrubs.
  • Thanks Posy. We have some roses that have also succumbed but so far the ones further away are surviving so far! Would any of your suggestions be suitable for an approx 2m high evergreen hedge? I am sure there are lots of things which are ok, just every time I see a plant I like and think would be suitable I check the list and find it is highly susceptible! 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I'm no expert on what will or won't resist honey fungus, I only know what I can grow myself! How deep do you want your hedge to be? Beech is dense and attractive,  though deciduous; holly will go as high as you wish and is evergreen. Laurel will grow like Topsy, in every direction and hawthorn is good for wildlife. I like eleagnus, which is tough as old boots and yew is slow but handsome. You need to have a look round your neighbourhood to see what's doing well. Be sure that if YOU have honey fungus, they will, too.
  • I emailed the RHS to get confirmation that we did indeed have honey fungus, as I suspected, because I'd never seen it "in the flesh" before.  They told me that though plants are on their "susceptible" list, that doesn't mean they'll definitely be infected - the fungus doesn't always travel in the direction one expects.  I was worried that the remaining two rowans in my front garden would inevitably succumb because they're listed as "top hosts" for honey fungus, and the dead tree's roots extend far enough to come into contact with the next, healthy tree's root system.  Not necessarily so, apparently.

    Fungus-resistant evergreen shrubs up to 2m.  Top of my list would be Abelia - pretty flowers, well behaved, needs little attention and flowers for months.  I don't know what sort of soil you have, because some shrubs on the list are lime haters.  Also, they're not all bone hardy, but hopefully in Bucks you're not too cold in winter?  Abelia is hardy to -10, I think.  Nandina domestica, common name Heavenly Bamboo, is gorgeous - not a bamboo!  Red or pink young foliage, white flowers, red berries.  Grows to about 1.5m.  For a contrasting form, you could try Phormium, New Zealand flax.  Sword-shaped leaves, some varieties have dramatic striped leaves for extra interest.  Coronilla glauca is a pretty shrub with scented yellow flowers and grey-green leaves, maybe not as tall as you'd want though - up to 1.2m.  Sarcococca, known as Christmas box, flowers in winter - small flowers which hide under the leaves, but smell strongly of honey.  Not all that tall.

    If you have room for a few deciduous shrubs too, that can add to the interest - Leycesteria formosa, aka pheasant berry, is pretty; I'm planning to plant hydrangeas, and have one with red leaves as well as red flowers; Kerria would give you yellow spring flowers and green stems; Philadelphus, sometimes known as mock orange, has white flowers in summer with a gorgeous scent.  There are several varieties of philadelphus, in different sizes.

    Hope this helps!
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Thanks so much for all the suggestions and love the idea of seeing what grows well in neighbours gardens! 
    I will have a look over the next few days but the descriptions are so helpful. Thanks again :)
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