How to get a privet hedge to grow fast

Written by izzy mcphee
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Privet hedge is a beautiful ornamental shrub. It can be trained as a living fence, topiary, tree or left to its own devices it will grow into a huge shrub. Though naturally a fast grower, this plant can be coached into even faster vegetative generation. Its ability to grow fast and retain limb strength has made it very popular with gardeners all over the world.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Compost
  • Full sun
  • Silica crystals
  • Slow release fertiliser
  • Plant clippers
  • Shade cloth

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the privet roots. Fill the hole with rich organic compost and pack it down well. Add a slow release fertiliser geared toward trees and shrubs. Mix in the appropriate amount of silica crystals the package calls for.

    Add water and allow it to drain completely before placing the plant in the hole. The silica retains water even in dry climates; it will slowly release its stores to the plant when water is needed.

  2. 2

    Trim off any dead, tangled or weak roots with clean sharp plant clippers. Check the root ball for pests. Remove and kill any found.

  3. 3

    Set the privet hedge in the hole, making sure the roots are positioned in such a way that they will not be cramped.

  4. 4

    Fill the hole with the compost and pack the soil down well. Water the plant thoroughly. Keep adding soil and water until it will not settle anymore.

  5. 5

    Use a shade cloth until the plant establishes itself. It will help prevent stress and the plant will grow faster. When watering the privet hedge, sprinkle the leaves with water for the first week or so. Never allow the soil to dry out while the plant is establishing itself. Once established this species can handle drought very well.

  6. 6

    Fertilise the plant with a water-soluble foliar plant food every few weeks.

  7. 7

    Trim off any misshapen or damaged limbs. Regular pruning encourages a bushier plant and healthy growth.

  8. 8

    Encourage ladybirds and praying mantis to take up residence in the privet. They are an excellent source of natural pest control.

  9. 9

    Do not crowd the privet with other plants, as they will take away from the nutrients it needs to grow at an accelerated rate. If the plant is in with others make sure they are fertilised when feeding the privet.

  10. 10

    Add a layer of mulch 3 or 4 inches thick to help retain water and shade the roots of the plant. This is a very important step for fast growth.

  11. 11

    Check beneath the mulch a few times a month for hidden pests. If pests are found, treat the privet with an appropriate pesticide. Once established the privet will send off shoots of growth from its base.

    If a tree is the intended form for the plant, remove all but a few strong trunks. The new growth can be rooted easily to create new plants. If the plant is beginning to form blossoms or berries remove them. They can slow down the overall vegetative growth.

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