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I have a bit of a problem.  I have a privet hedge at front of my garden which fronts on to a public footpath. The council have insisted it is cut back by 1 ft at least within the next two weeks. I am concerned that it will kill the hedge but don't really have much choice. Does anyone have experience of cutting back a privet hedge in early December.  I just wonder how a privet hedge will cope with such a severe cut in winter? Please help.

Dovefromabove

Don't worry, privet is as tough as old boots - it'll be fine.  

It'll look ghastly until the spring when the new growth starts and then it'll romp away and you'll have a great hedge in no time.  

Trim the new growth two or three times each year so that it bushes out and makes a thick rather than a spreading hedge. 

BobTheGardener

As Dove says, no problem cutting back hard right now.  I'd suggest cutting it back more than the minimum (say 18" instead of 12") so that the new shoots which will form in Spring have room to bush out.  If you don't do that, the council may ask you to cut it back again each year and it will never get a chance to make a nice hedge.  It will look awful over the Winter but it's always surprising how quickly privet grow back.

nutcutlet

We cut our privet back in winter. I hoped it would kill it but it came back stronger than ever.

Thank you all very much for your advice. It has been an eight year long project to get it to a nice shape and height but I'll get my petrol hedge trimmer out and cut back even more. Thanks again.

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Pixie, when you do cut it try to aim for an angled cut....I.e. wider at the bottom tapering slightly to the top.  It will look better, be healthier and help you achieve a seemingly narrow hedge there as, at shoulder height, it will be narrower.

Ok, it may look bare at first but few things look their best in winter.  Spring and new growth will soon be here 

Thanks for your advice Verdun. Will get working on it again.

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