Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 6,713
Our tired old privet hedge is past it's best - it was planted as a boundary approx. 80 years ago and honey fungus seems to be gradually killing it off. I like the density of privet and the birds do make nests in it, but we feel it is time for it to go, as mostly it is now yellowing. The escallonia that we replaced part of the privet with is also dying. We used to use something call armatillox (?) but that is no longer available in the shops.
Any ideas what we can do, which type of hedges we should plant to look attractive and encourage wildlife would be of great help. Thanks.
Have you any photos? I'm guessing that something's not right. It may just need a serious cut back down to the ground, well almost. A really good feed in the spring and it may love you for it.
Privet is a very hungry and thirsty plant and responds well to heavy pruning, feeding and plenty of water.
Otherwise I love "cotoneaster franchetii" a good thick evergreen hedge that grows well with flowers in the spring for the pollinators, berries in the autumn for the birds. It's an evergreen but can be lightly semi evergreen, a very small percentage of leaves can turn red over winter and drop but not enough to make the hedge see through.
I will try to post some privet pictures tomorrow evening Cottage Compost, but in the meantime thanks for your input and recommendation - cotoneaster franchetii which looks nice on the google sites with the added bonus of attracting wildlife.
IT CAN BE A REAL PEST. WE HAD ONE ASH TREE WHICH DIED OF IT. NEXT WENT THE CHERRRY TREE, THEN THE CEANOTHUS, THEN THE COTONEASTER.
I AM JUST WAITING TO SEE WHAT GOES NEXT.
HERE IS A LIST OF PLANTS WHICH ARE RESISTANT, THEY SAY, TO ITS EMBRACE AND ANOTHER LIST OF PLANTS WHICH ARE SUSCEPTIBLE.
SORRY IF YOU CAN'T FOLLOW THE LINK.
If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
Looking at that list, Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) looks like it might be a good bet for you. Though not evergreen, as a hedge it holds its leaves a bit like beech, so not completely bare in winter. Bareroot planting time coming up and plants are fairly cheap and readily available. Grows in wide range of soils and makes a decent hedge reasonably quickly. No guarantees with HF present, but do make sure the ground is really well cleared with no traces of root remaining and you should be in with a chance
There is another useful list in this Honey fungus factsheet (Adobe pdf):
Yew is reportedly immune to HF and would make a very dense evergreen hedge if you want to retain that aspect GD. It is rather slow growing though and I'm not sure how well it would do in your Guernsey climate. BTW, the link above is from your own government site so should be particularly relevant.
Thank you Bob, Buttercup, Pansy & CC. Yes that is a coincidence Bob regarding the link although Honey Fungus is quite prevalent here in Guernsey - it could be caused the damp, windy, mild days of winter that help to spread the spores. It is a rather daunting job to clear and prepare for new hedging isn't it. There are approx. 100 privets planted around our garden, not all with h.f. now, but it is spreading throughout the line of hedges. I will post some pictures later on or tomorrow.
Having now googled just what Honey Fungus is it looks as though it's a very serious problem. Looks as though your going to have to get serious about digging the whole lot up and cleansing the soil in some way to ensure it's all removed before you replant.
Don't I know it CC. It isn't a question of just digging the old hedge out and renewing - that is a job in itself, but just how far do you go with this cleansing business. Our daughter suggested taking the hedge out and putting up a fence - now there's an idea but what will the birds do for nesting, the foraging and all the creepy crawlies that use the hedge and the leaves below for hibernating.Escallonia and privet with honey fungus.
you could put some fast growing climbers over a fence, a mix of different clematis's and honeysuckles will give new nesting places in a couple of years and the honeysuckles will give berries for the birds to eat in autumn, plus they're a lot prettier than privet and a lot less maintenance!