old privet hedge in need of some help!
We have three old privet hedges in our yard, they've been around since my dad bought the house in 1978 and are presumed to be much older. I need some guidance on how to restore them back to their former privet glory
#1: (the small one) very very very bad - scraggly and bare-- so yesterday I gathered some courage and took the whole thing down to about 1'. I am hoping that with some love it will grow back. How often should I trim this one this summer?
#2+3 - both bare-ish and weedy, could each probably stand to be taken down to re-grow also, but I want see how #1 does before taking such drastic measures - or maybe I can help them without cutting it all down. I've read that if I cut out the bare shoots from the interior of the hedge, effectively thinning it out, those shoots will grow back with more outgrowth and make the hedge more dense. It looks like those shoots are also the youngest ones. Is this the right thing to do? Cutting the younger shoots worries me.
also #2+3 - these are also crooked, if I trim each hedge down 1-2' (from 6' to 4' tall, for ex) and begin to shave the outside to straighten can I just chop off some of the outside surface- making the hedge narrower and straighter - or will I ruin it?
One more note-- I have seen neighbors' hedges trimmed down drastically to halfway and then grown up again, resulting in a thickness of new growth at that halfway point where the hedge was chopped and then cared for. Is there any way to avoid this ? Or would I have to take the whole hedge down to ankle-height again to achieve uniformity?