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Dead areas of privet hedge

QuartzQuartz London Posts: 3
A friend has a privet hedge that has dead sections with green growing at the top. I know privet can regrow but wonder what is the best approach with this plant. It was watered through the summer but perhaps not enough - as the yellowing leaves suggest. It has been deluged with rain for the past two months. It is a rental property. I hope the section of hedge is not dead. What would you advise re pruning?  All the other privet hedges on the street and the area seem fine. I'm not sure why this section is struggling.

Thanks for your help.





Posts

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,102
    edited 10 January
    Good morning @Quartz and welcome to the forum 😊 

    If those green shoots at the top are from the shrub immediately below them then it’s not dead 👍 

    I suspect that the whole hedge suffered from the drought … some  parts more than others.  

    Is there any bare soil on the far side of the hedge?  Even if there is it will be in a rain shadow from the  white house so may not have been receiving as much water from rain as might be imagined. 

    My personal view would be to reduce the height of the whole hedge by a third and trim the sides ‘to a batter’ which means that the whole hedge will be the shape of an ‘A’ … this means that the sides will receive more sunlight which will stimulate the growth of new shoots and thicken up the hedge. Then over the next couple of years it can gradually be allowed to increase in height again. 

    I would also clear any weeds, ivy, dead leaves, twigs and other detritus that accumulates in the base of a hedge, and when the weather begins to warm up (mid March 🤞?) I’d feed the roots with some Fish, Blood & Bone which is a slow release organic fertilizer and water it in well. 

    If we get another dry spring and summer I’d consider laying a deep hose along its length and giving it a couple of hours of water two evenings a week, if we’re permitted to water. 

    I hope that helps. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Hi @Quartz - there could be various reasons, from long term drought, to the site it's growing in, to animal urine and honey fungus.
    Is it in a raised bed? The part in your last pic looks knackered I'm afraid, but as there's some green at the top, it could be cut back, or the damaged bit could be taken out. I'd be inclined to nip that bit out near the base with secateurs or loppers, if it was mine. The hedge either side will eventually grow across and cover it too. Privet also benefits from a good trim regularly through the season, so it's worth doing that soon, depending on the weather. Best to avoid doing it if there's heavy, long term frost in the forecast. A final trim in early autumn [approximately] helps it to stay neat over winter. How it performs over winter depends largely on location and climate.
    It's also a good idea to trim it with the top narrower than the base, as that allows the bulk of the hedge to get light and moisture more easily. If you look at the hedge from the end, it should resemble an A with the top removed. Privet can take quite harsh pruning/trimming, so it's worth trying that during spring/summer when it's growing well.
    Privet likes plenty of moisture, but an established hedge shouldn't need watering, so it could be that there isn't sufficient soil for it to access that moisture in order to support all the top growth.
    Any other info you can offer will help though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,271
    Pic 1:  privet is at best only semi-evergreen.

    Pic 2:  looks more serious.  Might be (hope. not) honey fungus.  Cut out all the obviously dead and see what happens in the spring.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    We were posting at the same time @Dovefromabove - saying the same thing  :)

    I think drought will have affected it a fair bit and it's made it difficult for it to thrive over winter, especially at the size it is. Regular trimming helps it rejuvenate well.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • QuartzQuartz London Posts: 3
    thanks all
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    edited 10 January
    You can let some of the lower and mid-height shoots either side grow long and then bend them across and tie them together in a horizontal-ish position. That will encourage side shoots to fill out the gap. Cutting back the top (all the way along) will encourage growth lower down from the live plants and help to fill the gap faster, otherwise most of the energy goes into growing at the top.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,102
    Fairygirl said:
    We were posting at the same time @Dovefromabove - saying the same thing  :)

    ...
    Not unusual    B)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Fairygirl said:
    We were posting at the same time @Dovefromabove - saying the same thing  :)

    ...
    Not unusual    B)
     ;) 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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