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Hi, my neighbours' privet hedges are dying. Our gardens are about 30+metres in length and each garden is losing hedge on each side of the gardns and in front gardens too. In some sections the hedge is completely devoid of any leaves and others are looking thread bare.I am fortunate that I have holly/hawthorn hedging but am concerned if the disease may contaminate other species. Any ideas?


How old is it, mine didnt live too long, only about 20 years, just started to die off and the trunks went brittle. I have replaced it with laurel, longer lasting and thicker and evergreen.


Sounds like  it could be honey fungus to me.    If it is actually dying.  However, losing leaves right now is nothing to worry about Daintiness.  


Usually they keep the leaves once they are established, I thought, I have a row that I planted 4 years ago, never lost any leaves, are there different types of privet?


Mine loses its leaves in severe winters but you can see buds ready to open.

Bits of mine have started to die though, the hedge dates from 1960, had been severely neglected for years, tall enough to tangle in the phone wires til we gave it a short back and sides a few years ago. 

One cause of death here is having its stems nibbled at ground level. I blame the voles of which we have lots.

We do have HF in the garden but, as far as I'm aware, not close to the hedge.That's probably the one thing that would affect other shrubs, most diseases are specific to certain plants.



privet is as tough as boots, so if looks like its dying its probably terminal (old age or disease), you should start looking for replacements.

on the plus side, unless its honey fungus your other plants should be fine, most diseases are fairly plant type specific.

I've got a strip of privet that doesn't lose its leaves in winter and a strip that does, maybe I have two different types I don't know but it comes back every spring.

There are different types of privet...different clones.  I have a hedge of wild privet.....grows on towans here too.  Tends to lose a few leaves so semi evergreen.  According to site and position the loss of leaves will vary.

I have bald patches in my (over 40-year-old) golden privet. I've tried cutting out the bald areas, but the problem is always there. It's a long hedge and will be expensive to replace, whatever I use. My questions are

  1. Is it terminal?
  2. What easily maintained and reasonably priced evergreen alternative can anybody suggest, please ?

I guess this should really be a new thread, but I'll take my chance on getting a reply,

Thank you

Hiya Naki

those bald patches?  Low down?  Maybe at the base?  Animals, exhaust fumes if cars parked there

when you cut out the bald patches it may be wise to wait until you see shoots and cut to those in spring.

difficult to say if "terminal" ...are the bald areas spreading?

replacements?  Lonicera nitIda Baggesons Gold is an easy olive turning yellow foliage in summer.

if the main hedge is fine how about inter planting with a foliage plant or two....if you are sure the bald areas cannot be restored. 

Any hedge is best trimmed so that the base is wider than the top.  This encourages densely growing lower growth

Hi Verdun,

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply in such detail. The bald bits are high up and football-sized. As the hedge doesn't lose its leaves it's not easy to spot shoots. It's difficult to say whether it's spreading - all I can say is that I've tried cutting out the dead patches over the past few years, leaving gaping holes, yet I always seem to have the same number every year.

Your suggestion for replacement certainly looks as if it wil fit the bill, so I think I'll try for one more season to cut out the dead bits, then if there's no improvement I'll just have to bite the bullet and replace it.

Thank you once again.



Thanks for the replies. I have lived in the area and the hedges were well established when I came....I will take some photos tomorrow - weather dependent. The first hedge started to lose its leaves last summer and gradually more and more of this hedge has become defoliated - definitely 10m now dead. The next garden over is again losing sections in the midlle of what was a healthy hedge - we wait to see if it rejunvenates but I can't see any sign of buds/growth.


Oops...I have lived in the area 20 years!

got rid of old hedge the variety was" Smaragd" replaced the soil and replanted a new hedge of privets. bare rooted.used root grow gel plus  bonemeal,used weed suppressing fabric. Lightly clipped the following year and mulched with manure from a local supplier I have used for years.fed with q4 pellets watered well and weeded,last year I used tree bark and chipping as a mulch.this year, loads of grey toadstools/mushrooms? appeared and a few months on and the leaves turned yellow and the privets dropped loads of leaves whilst at the same time loads of flowers appeared almost everywhere also some of the leaves curled. I put some maxi crop foliage feed on and around the roots,and watered etc as we had an unexpected dry spell. my plants are now 4 years old (i used a staggered alternate growing pattern initially and was impressed with their growth and colour until approx 2 months ago.I'm retired now and after all the effort and the advice I have been given and taken.I am devastated  with my efforts.any advice gratefully appreciated in also put two ton of well rotted and dry farmyard manure as another mulch last week. 

My very old privet hedge started showing signs of die back last summer and adjoining sections have produced less growth this year with leaves mottled reddish.  My neighbour had an ornamental cherry which died (honey fungus?) close to the hedge.  The hedge screens us from a busy road so needs to be replaced if the die-back continues so what would be suitable, preferably evergreen, quick growing to 5ft 6" tall (not leylandii) please?


We have golden privits that are 4 yrs old or so.we also planted burning  bushes. They are lush and green my privits have only a small amount of green grown near the bottom. Then a few branches have green leaves. Is this winter burn or got frozen tips? Is this normal do I need to cut all the way down. It seems like the branches are not dead just nothing....or does this bush just take time ? We live in Nebraska...

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