Privets chopped down - help!

jmarzihuMarch 12, 2012

I need advice about my privet bushes. They were about 10 years old, 12-15 feet high or so. My husband was supposed to trim them and, to my utter dismay, he chopped them down to stumps. I am devastated. My backyard is ruined.

In between sobbing, I have to try to figure out what to do next. Will they grow back? How can they grow back into a decent shape when their central structure is now just a bunch of stumps? If they won't grow back, then I guess I will have to hire a stump removal service to get the stumps out so I can plant new ones.

Finally, does anyone know a good divorce lawyer? Kidding... sort of.

Thank you so much for any help.

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

They will probably do very well from being cut right down. They're hard to kill and I am quite sure you will find they bounce back healthier than ever.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:42PM
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I'd have him go back out with a saw and cut the stubs all the way down to ground level. We do this to several privet hedges in our arboretum to rejuvenate the plants. You'll get good growth the first year and the second year you will be getting back some of the height you've lost.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 9:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yes, the proper procedure at this point is to cut them ALL the way to the more than 6 inch stubs. You'll be shocked and amazed at how quickly they will rejuvenate.

Do not fertilize these shrubs for at least a year. They may need some watering in times of drought like weather to support all of the new growth that is going to erupt in the not-too-distant future.

Frankly, your husband did the right thing at the right time of year. Just make sure that he cuts them all the way down SOON. He must not leave three or four foot stumps.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Thanks for the advice, everyone... I feel better. I will miss my privacy this year, and maybe for a few more, but at least I can be hopeful that they'll come back.

I guess maybe I'll apologize to the hubby, too.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:35PM
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P.S. What will happen if it's left at 3-4 foot stumps? I am just curious. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 6:59AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

at height.. 3 feet.. the plants will explode with growth.. and in a few years.. have so much weight.. that the 3 foot trunk.. will not be able to support it all.. and it will fall down ....

what you can do though.. is remove half of them to 3 inches or so.. and let those regenerate from below.. while the tall ones add some privacy ...

and then in fall or next spring.. cut the other ones down ... thereby giving some TEMPORARY HEIGHT.. but it will be harder to surgically remove them w/o hurting the new growth at the bottom.. but it can be done .... but maybe not by hubby ... lol

it should be quite a show.. to watch how they regrow .. try to enjoy it .... i suspect you will be surprised how fast they return.. with no insult to the roots ... and no.. they wont need to be fed.. to perform ...


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Thank you so much!!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:14AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If cut back to three foot stumps, it will explode in all of that new growth....beginning at three feet. The shrubs will look like H-E-doubletoothpicks. When cut back to near ground level, the new growth will come up from the bottom, creating a full, shrubby appearance.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Sounds to me that hubby deserves a steak dinner.....and then some.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:38PM
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