Golden privet has bright yellow leaves and reaches heights up to 3.6 metres (12 feet) once mature. Suitable as an informal hedge or border, the plant has a narrow trunk and branches out to a full oval shape. Each branch is covered with many leaves, allowing the golden privet to be used as a living privacy screen. It produces small white blooms in spring that add further interest to the plant. Golden privet shrubs require minimal maintenance in order to thrive in most gardens.
Things you need
- Pruning shears
Plant golden privet in a moist, well-drained garden bed in full sun. Golden privet can tolerate some shade, though the leaves may be light green instead of yellow when grown in the shade.
Water newly planted golden privets once a week, thoroughly moistening the soil. Water established plants as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Lay a 5 cm (2 inch) layer of mulch around each bush to help preserve soil moisture.
Leave a 5 cm (2 inch) space between the mulch and the trunk of the bush. This prevents rodents from nesting in the mulch and chewing on the privet's trunk.
Fertilise the privet once in the spring and a second time in the autumn. Apply 300 g (11 oz) of 15-5-15 fertiliser per every 9 square metres (100 square feet) of privet bed.
Prune golden privet with clean pruning shears in spring after flowering to maintain the desired shrub shape. Trim off any branches that have become leggy or too long by cutting them off above a leaf at the desired length. Trim out any dead or damaged branches where they emerge from the trunk or a main branch. Prune a second time in summer to control overgrown branches.
Treat diseases and infections with the proper chemical or organic control immediately if disease is detected. Use clean pruning shears and follow proper watering and fertilising schedules to prevent verticillium wilt, which causes the privet to begin browning and dying as it is incurable. Powdery mildew resembles grey or white powder on leaves and branches. Prune yearly to prevent it and treat infections with a fungicide. Use insecticide or insecticidal soaps to control aphids, mites and other insect pests.
Tips and warnings
- While usually an evergreen, during severe winters golden privet may drop its leaves like a deciduous shrub.
- Unlike other privet bushes, golden privet is not suitable for formal hedges and topiary as it does not tolerate the constant pruning that is required for a formal hedge.
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