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I have a privet hedge that is bulging at the top. Will it survive and grow back if I cut into it hard back to adjust the shape?
Yes. You can prune privet hard and it will recover. Aim for an A shape - wide at the bottom and narrower at the top so the bottom gets more light. After cutting feed it in order to help it recover and put on new growth. Check for birds' nests in the hedge before you start.
Yes it will. I cut the Japanese privet hedge here back from 6 feet thick and 20 feet tall to more of a hedge size and it's come back lush. I did it in two stages, taking the front off up to 6 feet first then taking the tops off the next year once it had put out some greenery on its new face, but even the ones cut down to bare trunks have come back. I've actually had to prune it again this weekend, even though it's summer, to get it off the flower bed. I found an Allium "Star of Persia" completely hidden among the new growth.
Good point on birds' nests. Best to prune in October, when disturbing one won't matter.
If you leave one of the privet plant to grow tall and flower you will attract lots of bees and butterflies as it is an excellent nectar plant.