How to mask the bottom non-green Japanese privet hedge in SF?

nmcaOctober 23, 2012

We have a Japanese privet hedge that is probably 50 or more years old. I clipped it (and am willing to clip it further) to about half its heights and it got nice and green foliage at the top now, but the bottom foot and a half or so are still thick stalks with no leaves.

What can I plant under it to make it look better? A row of impatiences (does not seem tall enough)? A row of lavander (seems too tall)? I prefer something flowering. There is only a foot-wide strip along the south-facing house wall in mid-foggy part of San Francisco (the hedge is planted right against the house). While it gets quite a bit of sun, there are also trees that create some shade.and buildings that block early morning and early afternoon sun.

I am not especially attached to privet, I am just too scared of the amount of work to just dig it all up and I need some kind of hedge there that would be about 4-5 feet tall fast, so privet works.

If it is a native plant, so much the better.

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

So, you need something about 18" tall and 12" wide, in part sun in foggy zone 15. You may also need something very shallow-rooted, because the hedge plants may have filled the soil pretty solid with their roots. How is the soil there?

You may get new growth lower down on the hedge by pruning the hedge narrower at the top. This would allow more light down to the bottom of the plants, allowing for stimulation of new growth. More light and extra watering might get you more growth down low.

Another option would be to try pruning one plant almost down to the ground. It may come back green all the way to the bottom. Trim it narrower at the top than at the bottom so the base gets sunlight, enabling the base to stay foliaged. If it looks good, you could do that with the rest of the hedge. Being already a well-established hedge, it's going to get back up to 4 or 5' a lot faster than baby plants would.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 3:22PM
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