How to Look After Privet Hedges

Updated April 17, 2017

The privet is a semi-evergreen shrub used in landscaping in most parts of the US. It produces small flowers followed by berries that are quickly eaten by birds. A privet is often pruned drastically to create a dense hedge; left unpruned, a privet can become very large and difficult to control. A privet thrives in sun or shade and tolerates dry as well as moist soil.

Prune your privet hedge to the desired height and width with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Shear the privet hedge straight across at the desired height. When pruning for width, leave the bottom slightly wider than the top so sunlight can reach the bottom limbs. This keeps the bottom of the hedge green and full. If you only have one privet, you can cut back as needed by cutting unruly limbs back to a main stem if all sides of the privet receive sun during the day.

Rake any fallen leaves or branches away from the bottom of the privet. Fallen or old leaves may contain disease pathogens or fungus spores that can spread to your privet when water splashes on them.

Fertilise your privet with a granulated organic fertiliser at the recommended rate shown on the fertiliser package. Spread the fertiliser around the bottom of the privet hedge over the root zone.

Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch under the privet hedge over the root zone. This helps keep the soil moist around the base of the shrub and conserves water.

Add water around the base of the privet by soaking for one hour with a stream of water the width of a pencil once every two weeks for the first year after planting. A privet produces a large tap root and is able to find water effectively once it is established, so you'll only need to add supplemental water if the weather is unusually dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Privet hedge
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Granulated organic fertiliser
  • Leaf rake
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About the Author

Jay Golberg is a certified Texas nursery professional and professional project manager. He has 30 years of business and farming experience and holds bachelor's degrees in English writing from St. Edward's University and finance from Lamar University.