Privet’s are a great choice for hedge plants, as they’re fast-growing, hardy, and semi-evergreen – meaning they’ll preserve most of their leaves all year round. One of the main benefits of choosing a privet hedge is that they don’t require a great amount of care once they’re established – but there are a still few things you should be sure to do to keep your privet hedge healthy and looking it’s best.
When to Plant
As privets are relatively unfussy, they can grow well even in polluted soil. As such, no particular measures are needed to make the soil acceptable before planting – other than digging the ground over and removing any weeds as you normally would.
Autumn is the best season to plant your hedge, although winter is also acceptable.
Caring and Feeding
After planting your privet hedge, it should be watered regularly until it’s established. For a newly-planted hedge, we’d recommend watering every 2-3 days. It’s better to water generously 3 times a week, rather than a little every day.
In terms of fertilisation, privet hedges are relatively hardy, and so don’t usually require fertilisation to thrive – however you may decide to use it to give your hedge a helping hand growth-wise.
If you prefer to use a natural fertiliser, you can mix some well-rotten manure in with the top 10 inches of soil before planting your hedge. This is especially valuable in giving your hedge a strong start if you know your soil is lacking in nutrients.
In terms of artificial fertiliser, we’d recommend using it no more than twice per year, in spring and autumn. A 15-5-10 fertiliser is best for privets, and don’t forget to water your hedge well after fertilising to ensure the product sinks in and reaches root-level.
Why are my Privet Leaves Turning Brown? Is My Privet Hedge Dying?
There are many reasons your privet hedge could turn brown. It may be due to pests, diseases, cold/ wet weather or establishment failure.
Regularly treating your hedge with a natural insecticide will help save it from pests such as aphids or spider mites. This is a relatively easy fix, however if waterlogged soil is the reason then your hedge may require better drainage – which can sometimes be labour-intensive.
Pruning isn’t necessarily required keep your privet in good health, but if you’d like to keep it looking neat and formal you should prune several times during the growing season. If you aren’t too worried about the shape however, we’d recommend giving your hedge just one thorough prune in August.
In short – privets make excellent low maintenance hedges, and with just a little care and attention can provide you with a luscious green screen to spruce up your outdoor space.