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How to Care for a Privet Hedge

Privet Hedge at Night image by Gary Chorpenning from

Privets are one of the most common shrubs used to create hedges and belong to the genus Ligustrum. Most privet shrubs grow 12 to 18 feet tall with a compact form and vigorous growth rate. Privets can withstand heavy shearing, so shaping and controlling their size is easy. The most popular types include the Amur privet (Ligustrum amurense), Japanese privet (L. japonicum), glossy privet (L. lucidum), California privet (L. ovalifolium) and Regal privet (L. obtusifolium var. regelianum).

Water your privet hedge deeply to soak the soil to the depth of and around the roots. Water the privets only during prolonged dry spells or droughts in spring, summer and early autumn.

Feed your privets in early spring and again in autumn with a 15-5-10 NPK fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer granules on the ground around the hedge at a rate of 7/10ths of a pound per 100 square feet of shrub bed.

Cut your privets back to about half their height after planting them, and then cut them back to 12 inches in height in fall after the first growing season ends. Cut the privets back to 18 inches tall during the summer of the second growing season.

Shear the privet shrubs each year in early autumn to shape them and to remove any dead, diseased or damaged growth. Always shear the privets so the top is slightly narrower than the bottom, to allow adequate sunlight to reach the lower branches.

Treat your privet hedge for pests like aphids, scale insects, whiteflies and mites by applying an appropriate insecticide or miticide. Apply the chemical treatment only if the infestation is heavy and follow the directions on the label exactly.


Plant your privet shrubs in full to partial sunlight and in well-draining soil. Space the privet shrubs about 2 feet apart in a row to create a low formal hedge or 4 feet apart to make a medium to tall formal or informal hedge.


Watch out for leaf spot and root rot diseases infecting your privet hedge. Prune away and destroy any diseased growth on the privets, and then apply an appropriate fungicide.

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