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We have a long privet hedge which is part of our boundary.

A neighbour has taken a dislike to it and has been applying some kind of poison, possibly something similar to that "used by the council". 

Whilst it is a long established hedge I would like some advice on any remedial work I can do. Should I water it, feed it etc.

The leaves from below a height of 2 feet are shrivelled although it still looks ok above that and on top and on the inside face. The grass on the inside at the back of the hedge is going yellow where I assume cats and hedgehogs are spreading it. It is getting time for it to be cut; is it alright to cut the still growing parts? If I do this will the hedge be more susceptible to further attacks?image

Any helpful advice would be appreciated.



  • Maybe this is a daft question but who actually owns the hedge?

  • Hedge belongs to us. I maintain it by cutting three times a year. There is no question that it is a neighbour who has done it (ie not the work of the council).

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    There is no point in doing anything with it, if it's been poisoned then that's it, where would you cut it down to, you'd have to go to six inches from the ground to get it to thicken up and hope it shoots out, but it won't, it's been poisoned! 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Presumably you only share this part of the boundary with one neighbour. Have you asked them what, if anything, they've done? If it were my hedge I'd be livid!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,979

    I'm interested in you saying that whatever was used is "...possibly something similar to that "used by the council". "

    Does that mean that the neighbour or a relative is a council employee and may have used weedkiller used in their employment?

    This is very serious and should be taken up with your local councillor.  

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

  • Potteringabout; the boundary is alongside a track to which several people have access, I am not on speaking terms with this neighbour but I have been to the police about it. They have said they will visit the neighbour concerned if I wish. I have a quote for a CCTV camera but of course this cannot see what is happening in the hedge bottom but hopefully will act as a deterrent and will present some difficulties in terms of crossing from the opposite side of the track where they live to our side. I am livid.

    Dovefromabove: I couched that phrase carefully. I do not know what it is for certain but in case someone has experience of this type of chemical I mentioned what I had been told.

    Lyn: I stated that the hedge still looks okay above that brown line, it looks okay on top and it looks okay on the inside face. I mean by this that there are green leaves present. There still seems plenty to work with and quite frankly the cost of a 6 foot high brick wall 15 yards in length plus the cost of removal of the existing hedge means that I cannot write it off quite so quickly.

    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding feeding, watering, cutting please?

  • Okay, in my experience privet is a really tough old plant and can take quite a lot of abuse and still bounce back, with a bit of tlc. If it were mine I'd give it a really good soaking and a good feed and hope for the best. I don't think I'd cut it just yet as there may be birds nesting. There does appear to be some new growth amongst the brown bits and maybe it will recover. I may be chatting bubbles here but if I am someone with a better idea will, I'm sure, be along to help you. Good luck with it.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,979

     I noted that what you said had been 'phrased carefully'.  

    I agree with Pottering ...... you can't go wrong with a good watering ......... I'd suggest a half-strength feed only ... working on the theory that you don't give a poorly person a rich dinner.  

    Fingers very crossed that the hedge recovers and that the neighbour can be dissuaded from repeating his action.  But if the weedkiller was a systemic type I don't hold out much hope.

    Let us know how it goes. 

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

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    Please come back in a couple of months and let us know how it's doing. Where did you think about cutting it down too? 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks for the advice everyone. I will check out for nesting birds before I cut it. Will put some water on it tomorrow. I also have some empathy After Plant evergreen Bio Active fertiliser which I will apply sparingly.

    Lyn: because it's still got leaves on the inside down to it's normal low level I'm hoping it will revive. I just wondered what I could do for it to help matters along. I reduce the height to about 6 and a half feet and didn't plan on doing more. It separates us from a track and provides security and privacy so I like some height.

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