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How to Train a Privet Hedge

Updated February 21, 2017

Numerous species of privets belong to the Ligustrum genus. Some are used as hedges, while the Chinese privet and glossy privet are classified as invasive. Plants are evergreen and sport fragrant white flowers in spring and into the summer. In addition to being used as a hedge, some of the privets serve as shrubs in a landscaping plan, while others grow into small trees. Privets are common in landscaping because they grow quickly and can withstand heavy, frequent pruning to keep them confined as a hedge.

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  1. Plant one privet every 2 feet along a straight line in an area that receives full sun or partial shade. Measure the area where you plan to establish your hedge, then mark your planting holes with stakes or by placing a rock or other object at each position.

  2. Prune your privet hedge at least once each year after it finishes blooming at the end of its active summer growing season. After that, prune them at any time to train them into the shape and size you want.

  3. Prune your privets into an informal hedge by thinning them and keeping them to a manageable size and shape. Using your clippers or loppers, cut all dead or broken branches back to a main stem or trunk. Then stand back and observe the hedge's shape. Prune more branches to create the size and shape you want.

  4. Train your privets into formal hedges by leaving the lower portion wider than the upper portion, gradually tapering the plants toward their upper edge. Ensure that the sides and top are relatively level and even. You might choose to use electric hedge trimmers to make this task easier. Continue to prune periodically to maintain the hedge's size and shape.

  5. Fertilise the privets in your hedge twice each year, in early spring and fall. Use a fertiliser with an N-P-K ratio of 15-5-10, broadcasting about 340gr of granular product for every 100 feet of planted row.

  6. Warning

    Do not train your privet hedge to have a narrow base, because it might lose leaves toward the soil and lower branches might not remain healthy because they will not receive enough sunlight.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Stakes
  • Rocks
  • Clippers
  • Loppers
  • Hedge trimmer (optional)

About the Author

Barbara Fahs

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.

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