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How to Get a Privet Hedge to Grow Fast

By Sharon Sweeny ; Updated September 21, 2017

Privet hedges are frequently planted to define an outdoor space or screen an unwanted view. Naturally prolific, they will respond well to efforts to encourage them to grow fast. They bounce right back after pruning and seem to grow back faster and thicker than before. A newly- planted privet hedge will grow and fill in quickly even with a minimum of coddling. With consistent horticultural practices, a newly-planted privet will burst into vigorous growth and reach a respectable size the first year it is planted.

Prune your privet hedge frequently. Pruning encourages the shrubs to put out new growth. Cut them back by 4 to 6 inches, or one-third of their length if shorter. Shape the hedges when pruning so that their bottoms are wider than the tops. This will allow sunlight to reach the bottom of the shrubs and encourage new growth.

Water the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week.

Mulch in and around the individual plants that make up the hedge to keep the soil evenly moist and discourage weeds from growing.

Apply granulated all-purpose fertilizer in early spring after the buds open and again at midsummer. Pull back the mulch and spread the fertilizer around the base of the hedge following the manufacturer's recommended rates of application. Replace mulch.

Spray the foliage with a water-soluble high-nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season until mid-August. Use a hose-end sprayer to apply the fertilizer to the leaves and branches, and follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of both the fertilizer and the hose-end sprayer.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning clippers
  • Mulch
  • Granulated all-purpose fertilizer
  • High nitrogen water-soluble fertilizer
  • Hose-end sprayer


  • To rejuvenate an old, overgrown privet hedge, hard-prune it by shearing it off about six inches above ground level.

About the Author


Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.