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Dying or diseased Privet Hedge

Discussion in 'Pests, Diseases and Cures' started by mgkelly, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. mgkelly

    mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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    Ive give it a damn good soaking...the ground cover weed membrane that the builders put in when they were planted back in 2001 - so it should let water through?

    Re hard pruning...it is getting a bit bigger (taller and fatter) than I would like anyway - can I say lop a foot off the top and really thin it out - will it come back green (under normal healthy conditions) or am I likely to have a brown bush for a few years while it re shoots? I know some bushes I see (conifer type) seem to stay brown forever.

    Thanks again guys
     
  2. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    Hiya mgkelly, nobody seemed to know what the problem was with escallonias and the hard pruning was a do or die effort.:)
    Generally it worked....for me and others here where those escallanias now abound:)

    I would not trim or thin yours out ....I would cut back really hard. It won’t leave brown bushes, in fact it should (if healthy) produce strong new growth quite quickly.

    I agree about the ground cover.....I don’t like membrane at all. Fine for pathways etc but not for general garden use I think

    Maybe try the soaking method first then and see if it improves :)
     
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    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      The soaking should do it good. :) Builders unless they are gardeners haven't got a clue, the membrane should never have been laid at the base of the hedge. It's usually used as a weed suppressant and although it will let some water through it's not enough to sustain a hedge of this sort. Escallonia, when healthy develops well and at maturity is a good thick hedge. I had 110ft on the boundary at my last house and below you can see part of it to the right. It doesn't need membrane to keep weeds away as it grows very close to the ground, the hedge itself forms it's own suppressant.

      010.JPG

      Yes, as Verdun has said you can prune it back hard and it will produce strong, dense growth. It is a different type of plant to conifers. Conifers aren't capable of producing new growth once they start to die back and eventually have to be removed.
       
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      • mgkelly

        mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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        Thanks again but update is I just started on the hard pruning and came to the realization that it is much worse and Im pretty sure got way worse in the last week or 10 days - this isnt a battle Im going to win.

        Also there is a Horse Chestnut tree across the road that looks totally dead with surprisingly similar symptoms - Im wondering if a coincidence
        - anyway a few more photos that may be of interest. The one I find strangest is the totally dead looking branch covered in moss but still with growth at the end
         
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        • mgkelly

          mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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          Any suggestions for a fast growing replacement...4-5ft high would be ideal
           

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        • lolimac

          lolimac Super Gardener

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          Laurel is pretty fast growing but ideally you need to get to the bottom of why the privet has died..I'd hate for it to be something like Honey fungus that would decimate any new planting you do.
           
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Hmmmm....phytophthora perhaps??:)
           
        • lolimac

          lolimac Super Gardener

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          I had to google that one Verdun..it is very distructive isn't it..
           
        • mgkelly

          mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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          I googled it too as didn't know of disease or a replacement hedge. Worth trying to treat it?

          I'm going to walk around the estate later but I know there are 5 more hedges like mine and think it is only mine that is affected ☹️
           
        • lolimac

          lolimac Super Gardener

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          Has your next door neighbour got any plants or shrubs that are nearby by your hedge? anything happening with those?...
           
        • mgkelly

          mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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          Only a small confer hedge - it is only a 1 m wide by 0.5m - that looks ok at the moment.
          The horse chestnut tree I posted a pic of does looks strangely similar symptoms though - that is literally opposite the escallonias - 4-5m away
           
        • lolimac

          lolimac Super Gardener

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          Any sign of any little 'mushrooms 'near the base or even a few feet away from the Horse chestnut tree ?
          Can you tell I'm as desperate to find out what this problem is as you are..
           
        • mgkelly

          mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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          No mushrooms. The only strange thing is in the pic and I'm unsure if it is from the ground or just a spill...this was only at the base of 1 or the 3 dead trees.

          There are 10 horse chestnut trees and 3 are completely dead like the one in the pic...they have always struggled for last few years I assumed that was due to the larger ones dominating.

          I also walked around...the other escallions are no where near as bad as mine, but it does appear that about a third of them have the beginnings of what I see with mine - just chunks mid greenery totally dead or dying.
           

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        • Sheal

          Sheal Total Gardener

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          With the exception of black spot during particularly prolonged wet weather Escallonia doesn't suffer from any other diseases. So I still think this has got to be a soil issue.

          Approximately how long has the die back been happening please?

          The faster a hedge grows the more trimming it will need MG. If you're happy with that then my suggestion would be Griselinia. Hebe makes a good flowering hedge but will take a minimum of five years to get to a good height.
           
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          • mgkelly

            mgkelly Apprentice Gardener

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            I first noticed this maybe a couple of months ago...looked like 2 of the bushes were dying but I expected them to spring back to life...however, it is definitely getting worse as I cut the bush 2 weeks ago and tried to strip out most f the dead stuff in the heathier bushes ...but loads more has appeared.

            Will take a look at Griselinia if as I suspect I will be looking at a fully dead hedge in a month or so!
             
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