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When/How to Prune Privet Hedges?

Posted by JohnnyShortpants z4 upstate NY (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 10, 04 at 17:27

In May I planted about 120 privet hedges on the perimeter my back yard. I bought them from my local nursery, and they came as little sticks in a bag. I'm pretty sure they are a northern amur privet...just your basic privet hedge, pretty common around here (near Albany, NY). I know privet hedges are not everyone's favorite, but I needed a screen, I wanted to keep the budget reasonable, and I don't mind clipping them whenever necessary.

I lost about 10, but after I started using a soaker hose periodically, the rest are doing well. Some are growing tall with little width, and some are growing wider with less height. My question is how should I prune them? When should I prune them? A neighbor told me if I cut them shorter, they will grow thicker and wider...seems consistent with the growth I've seen so far. That would be ideal...thicker, consistent growth so they merge together...I can wait on the height, although I want that too.

Thanks for any help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When/How to Prune Privet Hedges?

Privets are pretty tough cookies, and even if you sheared them to the ground, they would probably start sending more shoots up. They also grow fairly fast.
Since you are not growing them for their flowers, you can prune in June, and again in late August. Twice a year should do it.
When you achieve the desired height and width, just keep pruning to that shape. Basically, the more you prune, the denser the hedge will get.
If you want to get some more Privets going for the ones which died, just propagate a stem cutting. They will root easily in a pot in one season - maybe less - and you'll be able to fill-in those gaps.

privet hedge flowers

How do I get rid of the flowers (blossoms) on my neighbors privet hedge? They blow all over my driveway and car as he wont prune them.

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