Northern Privet problems

moonshadow28(z6 RI)June 9, 2012

We have a border of Northern Privets around our deck. They are 25 years old and stand about 12 feet tall. They have always been full and bushy on the top 6 feet and look dead and bare below that. For the past 2 years we have noticed lots of new leaves and fullness in early Spring and then everything below 2 feet dries up and dies while the top continues to grow. There are no signs of spider mites or honey fungus. Does this sound like a pruning issue? We have pruned the top but never below 3 feet. At this point they look awful and I wonder if we should cut them right down to a foot or so... PLEASE HELP!

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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Yes, your last sentence is correct. Cut it down to a foot or so. Privet that size is in need of some serious rejuvenation pruning. Nothing will kill privet so don't worry about hurting it. It will come back quickly if you water and fertilize the area with a high nitrogen fertilizer. After it comes back, prune it into a shape where the bottom of the hedge is thicker than the top so that the bottom gets enough sunlight to stay full. Every time the top grows 6 inches to a foot, you can prune some of that new growth off to thicken the top of the hedge.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 7:21PM
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