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How to Plant a Privet Hedge

The classic privet is what most people think of as a formal hedge. Privet is a fast-growing hedge plant that is easy to establish in your yard. It can handle even the most severe pruning and will bounce right back, filling in even fuller than it was previously. Privet hedges are evergreen. Plant them only if you are prepared to trim them regularly whenever they are in active growth. They grow so well that they need to be pruned several times during the growing season.

Determine where you will locate your privet hedge. Plant privet in partial sun or shade in soil that is slightly acidic. They can handle a little dry soil when they mature, but must be watered regularly while young.

Pound a short wooden stake into the ground at either end of the site for the hedgerow. Tie a string between the stakes for use as a guide when planting the privet plants.

Dig a trench about 18 inches wide and the length of the proposed hedge, centered around the string you installed. Evenly pile up the soil you remove along one side of the trench.

Mix the soil you removed from the hole with peat moss. Use one 5-gallon bucketful of peat moss for each three feet of hedgerow. Spread the peat moss on top of the piled-up soil so it is relatively evenly distributed and mix together with the blade of a shovel.

Loosen the soil in the bottom of the trench with a pitchfork or garden digging fork. Add granulated slow-release fertilizer specially formulated for evergreens to the bottom of the trench, following the manufacturer's recommended rate of application.

Add some of the improved soil back into the trench, so that the privet plants will be planted so they grow at the same level that they were growing in their nursery pots.

Plant the privet plants 12 to 18 inches apart, using the string as a guide for their placement. Back fill the trench, gently firming the soil around the roots of the privet so there are no air pockets around the roots. Firm the surface of the soil along the trench with your foot. Remove the stakes and string.

Build up the soil at the sides of the trench to form a dam to help send water down to the roots and not run off.

Water in the new transplants using a soaker hose. Lay the hose along the length of the newly planted hedgerow and allow it to water the privet plants for at least one hour. Supply the privet hedge with the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week for its first year in your yard. Thereafter, water in times of sparse rainfall.

Mulch the surface of the planting trench with a 2 to 4 inch layer of pine needles, shredded pine bark or peat moss. These mulch materials will help keep the soil in the acid range of the pH scale as they break down. Replenish the mulch annually to a depth of 2 to 4 inches.

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