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Privet Hedge Problem

Our privet hedge is about a few years old and suddenly today I notice that three quarters of the plants have gone from dark green to pale green with all leaves drooping.  The leaves are not yellow, but a pale non glossy green.  Is it dying?  I wondered if it could be that they are dry, but I have not seen this happen at other times in summer when it has been hot for long periods.  Nonetheless, I have given them loads of water with the hose in the hope that may revive them.  Other thing I wondered is if it is to do with the time of year, but once again cant remember seeing this last year and for it to happen to most of the hedge plants, almost suddenly...

Any thoughts / help appreciated! The hedges are about 1.5m high, maybe a bit more.


  • Any chance of some photos?  Click on the little landscape icon and follow the instructions. 😊 

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

  • Yeah can do, though not tonight as its too dark? Any ideas? 
  • A torch? Or we’ve got some photographers studio lights … 😉 

    …. but really I think we’d better wait until we have some visual clues … guessing really isn’t going to help you … 😊 

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

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Need to see it @Dig2006. Could be anything - or nothing  :)
    Could be very dry - privet is almost impossible to over water, and grows best with plenty. If it hasn't been trimmed for a while, it can be old foliage getting ready to drop. Regular trimming encourages new, healthy growth. Although privet isn't technically evergreen, all evergreens and semi evergreens will drop foliage regularly and replace it. It may be doing that.
    Could be poor, depleted soil. There may have been enough to establish it, but if there's other planting around or pavement footings etc, the soil could be low on nutrients. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...

  • Will have to take a proper photo tomorrow as you cannot see much, other than the leaves all drooping. There is no other planting around.  I havent water in a long time, but as I say thats never normally been a problem with them and it seems to have happened within days.  Leaves are a dry pale green.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,079
    Privet is generally very tolerant of a wide range of conditions (that's why it's common). I have a dry-ish climate (by UK standards) and well-drained sandy soil and the privet hedge copes just fine -it was mature (and overgrown) when we moved here in 1988 and my guess is it was planted in the early 1950s with no soil improvement. It's probably less lush than it would be on better soil with more rain but it's not unhappy and I never water it and I've never seen it droop like yours. I wonder if because it's so young, it is more susceptible to dryness at the roots.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • that doesnt sound good :-(
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,079
    Did you keep it well-watered for it's first year? If not, it might not have been very well established and there've been a few hot dry spells this summer which won't have helped. But let's see how it looks in the daylight.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Well I did water it frequently throughout its first summer, whether that was enough ive no idea.  ive water it maybe a handful of times this year. Didnt realise i needed to do it more.  But what is strange is that the whole row of hedge rows could simultanously start drooping / dying.  Will check to see if there is any yellowing tomorrow, but didnt notice any earlier.
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