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When to prune privet hedge

hi guys, I have a privet hedge as my front garden boundary and I was wondering when is the best time to give it a bit of a prune.  I’m planning on giving it a very hard prune late winter to open up the entrance but is it ok to give it a final trim before winter now or wait till later, maybe September or October?  Your valuable advice is always appreciated.  The hedge is the original from when the houses were built in the 30’s I think and does a brilliant job of sound proofing against the cars going by and privacy from the pavement and bus stop across the road
Many thanks in advance



  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,130
    Privet's pretty forgiving. You can cut it back any time you like as long as there aren't any birds nesting in it. If you do it now there'll be some regrowth before winter, but you can give it another light trim later if you like.
  • We have a privet in our front and back gardens that is the same age and was planted when the house was built. In the front it's a small neat and tidy hedge, so it gets trimmed when it looks a little untidy. The back is allowed to grow a little wilder but is still cut back to a firm hedge.

    As Jenny mentions privet can be cut forgiving and the reason we leave our back hedge more is because we do get birds nesting in it as well as privet hawk moth, so we trim around them. You can get away with only trimming twice a year if you want a neat ish hedge.

    I'd also agree that now or the next month is a good time to trim because if you are taming the hedge and need to cut it back quite hard, you want to do so whlist there is still time for it to green up before winter or it will look a little bare until next spring.
  • JAC51JAC51 Posts: 150
    thanks @JennyJ and @thevictorianzFH0qqPW for the advice. I don’t think I have any nesting birds but it’s quite a big job and I don’t want to be doing it now and again in a month’s time.  When do you think the last trim before winter should be?
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,130
    I did mine last week and I might give it another light trim to tidy it up around late September to mid-October depending on the weather and how much it grows before then. If it stays fairly dry for the next two months it might not need another trim. Last year I didn't get to it in August and it's last cut was early September. It all depends on weather, growth, and when I have time to do it!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    I used to do mine several times throughout the year. It's fairly indestructible, but your local climate is a factor in when you do it for the last time of the year  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 191
    edited August 2021
    From my experience, all the time!

    Robin Lane Fox said:  " the best time to prune a plant is when you are in the mood."

    Which reminds me, I have only pruned halF my roses (gallicas and albas) which I normally do straight after flowering.  Monty just did his with hedge cutters.  I must finish mine crudely straight away.  Then tidy them up later.  The beech can wait.

  • You could trim it now and it will probably only have enough regrowth to look fluffy by winter. If you want it really neat then perhaps wait till mid September. 

    I do think you might need to trim it twice though to get the best out of it. If they have been allowed to grow out a little then they can become quite loose and open inside, so trimming a couple of times promotes side shoots so they fill in the gaps. If you want it open and loose then one trim will do.
  • JAC51JAC51 Posts: 150
    …I know everyone loves a before and after pic so here is the hedge after I finally took the plunge to open up the gateway (my son couldn’t get his bike out and I struggled with the bins each week)
    I know it looks really ugly at the moment but there are signs of life so hopefully it will leaf up and become a green hedge again

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,325
    Smashing. That'll pick up and come away  nicely, and then you can keep it in check more easily.  :)  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,130
    It'll have greened up nicely by summer :). You could probably have taken it back another 6 or 8 inches to allow space for it to regrow a bit.
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