I have a Eugenia hedge that has bordered our house for what our neighbors say has been >60 years (Southern California). Many of the individual trunks are thick, with few branches. After years of marginal pruning, the hedge width was interfering with pedestrians walking on the sidewalk. Strong pruning (to reduce to a more reasonable width) has left a hedge with most of the new growth at the very top, with some at the very bottom. Most of the trunks (which are very old!) have few branches (see pics).
Beyond aesthetics (it is ugly!), it is failing as a privacy hedge, as now our neighbors can confirm that we are also terrible gardeners to the rest of our yard.
This article suggest planting Eugenia 3-5 feet apart (ours are much more closely planted). This article states that it is good to trim a Eugenia hedge more narrowly at the top than the bottom (to allow the bottom to receive sunlight).
This article has good suggestions on reviving a Eugenia hedge. I have removed a fair amount of the inner dead branches & debris, and I did so in the spring during the wettest winter in SoCal history. Still, it seems that the hedge needs more than these efforts. Other suggestions are to cut off the top 1/3 of the plant or to remove & replace with younger plants. Before taking such drastic measures, I am looking for advice or suggestions (plus, I will have to explain my actions to neighbors & husband!).
I'm looking for suggestions for reviving this old hedge so that it will have thick green growth from bottom to top-- so that it can once again serve as a lovely privacy hedge.