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Minimising a mature hedge?

lb191lb191 Posts: 80


I have a hedge that's about 10ft tall and 4ft wide and I want to chop it down and replace it with a fence and use the space to turn the area into a vegetable bed.

My neighbour has expressed a strong desire for the hedge to remain. I don't know why because it's leggy and dead in parts and they see very little if it. They don't seem bothered about privacy.

In an attempt to compromise I'm wondering if I could make the hedge as little as 1-2ft wide by chopping at the base and leaving only the vertical wood in place.

Then I'd chop it to about 3ft high in the hope it grows back to 6ft.

Privacy is important to me so I'd hope it would thicken up again but within its new confines.

Its a common species. Evergreen with small dark green 1-2cm leaves.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,970

    Hello and Happy New Year image

    Is it a privet?  Can you show us a photo of the leaves and stalks and a photo of the whole hedge?

    Privet  copes very well with being cut hard back and kept as a neat closely trimmed hedge - I'd rather have a hedge than a fence image

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

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Whatever it is, if you chop it down to the ground it will grow up again.

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Agree with dove that it sounds like privet from leaf description. A photo would help confirm. 

    Sounds like this hedge has been left to its own devices for a while. Leggy privet responds well to hard pruning and will grow back denser, but you need to maintain a good trimming regime to keep it in shape.

    I don't think you could achieve a full thick 6ft height from a 3ft cut in one season if privacy is an issue.

    Try to come to an agreement with your neighbours before you chop anything. A plan that suits both of you will avoid any angry boundary disputes.

  • lb191lb191 Posts: 80

    Thanks for the replies. I'll just give it a good chop then and see what happens.

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,396

    A hedge is almost always better than a fence. If it's privet it will be grow back strongly when cut back. Try to keep a tapering up shape with it wider at the base. That way it will grow thick and dense giving the privacy you desire.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Check there are no birds nesting in it before cutting back. image

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

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