This year in March I planted a privet hedge. Most plants were about 80 cm (2.5 feet).

The plants look alright now: Text

But the bottom half is still mostly bare of leafs and new branches. I noticed some leafs started growing in the lower section of the plant, but very timidly.

I've heard conflicting facts about this, someone told me the plant should be cut to half the height for it to thicken in the bottom part as well, someone else told me to leave it alone, as it will thicken all over eventually.

2 Answers 2


Getting a privet to be full is a matter of pruning. And not simply chopping them all at the top or middle. I would wait until next year and then prune out about 1/4 , cutting the biggest/oldest stems at ground level. Likely there are other pruning techniques that will also work.


If you want it to leaf up and thicken at the base, you should have cut back the plants by half if they were bare root and by a third if they were in pots originally, after planting. You can do it now, but the problem you will have ongoing is that you have planted very close to the fence behind and the plants are in a very narrow border. The average mature privet hedge is usually about 3-4 feet wide from front to back, and you can see that will be an issue, given their planting situation. If you don't cut them back, you will have bare bases to the plants ongoing.

If you do cut back, don't cut again this year, but next year, clip over lightly 3 or 4 times during the growing season.

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