I need help with my Privet hedge.

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  #1  
Old 08-10-10, 02:38 PM
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I need help with my Privet hedge.

I am located in NJ. I have some very old privet hedge. I was told it could be 50 years or more. Its atleast 35. They have been neglected for some time. I have only lived in the house two and a half years. I am just learning what I need to do with it. I have been trimming them about 2 or three times a summer. This summer my wife and I have really made an effort to work on the landscaping. I have gone through and cleaned out as many weeds and tree saplings as possible. I have pulled out a lot of the dead underbrush and I have replaced some of the the dead spots in the hedge wall with new bushes. I think some of my hedges might be in trouble. I see this white stuff that looks powery on the leaves and some leaves are being eaten, Also they bushes are looking a little thin. In the pictures I have linking I just pruned them a few days ago, so they are a little more bare then normal. I have read some information online about rejuvinating them by cutting them down to the ground, but I really need them there. I live on a very busy main road I don't want to do with out. I did go through cut some growth out to stimulate new on one side but not the other. I guess so stop rambling I will list of my questions.

Picasa Web Albums - 1971GTO - privet

What can I do to treat this white stuff on the leaves?

How can I get the privet to fill in more?

The Front section of the hedge is very thin and leggy. (A car swerved onto the lawn in 1985 and they have not been the same according to the old owners.) What can I do to get them to fill in more other then add more bushs.

Is there anything I can do to slow down or stop all these weeds and saplings from growing in the privet.
Any information is much a great help.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-10-10, 09:03 PM
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Cool

I can't answer most of your questions but I think your white stuff on the leaves is most likely mealy bugs, and a simple solution is a quick mix of dish soap and water, and spray the plant down underneath the leaves and on top. These bugs will also cause your plants to not grow properly. I am posting an image of a mealy bug so you can see if that is what your white stuff is.
 
  #3  
Old 08-11-10, 04:55 AM
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Thanks for the response. I did a little more reasarch. I think it is powdery mildew.
 
  #4  
Old 08-11-10, 05:19 AM
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It could be a type of fungus as well, I have a simple solution to rule out mealy bugs with some household items, If you dip a cotton swab or Q-tip in rubbing alcohol, touch the white spot with the tip, and if the white spot turns pinkish you have mealy bugs, if not it is a fungus/mildew
 
  #5  
Old 08-11-10, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by 71GTO View Post
. . . I think it is powdery mildew.
I believe youíre correct. Itís a common fungal disease . . . rarely lethal . . . distracts from appearance and may defoliate plant if severe.

Since this disease is not likely to be life threatening to your privets, I would start w/ a tame treatment approach. Suggest an insecticidal soap . . . it will not harm your beneficial insects (helpful pest control agents) although toxic to aquatic invertebrates (shouldnít apply in your case) . . . I use M-Pede (active ingredient: potassium salt of fatty acid) but any quality product should be fine . . . you can apply as a foliar spray or drench but it may be easier for you to drench if not having a sprayer; follow labeling instructions. You may need two applications (4-6 weeks apart if first drench doesnít get it all); make sure you hit underside of leaves. If for some reason that doesnít correct problem, a more aggressive solution would be use of one of these products: Cleary 3336, Daconil Ultrex, Dithane WF, Heritage Fungicide, Kocide LF, Subdue MAXX {Compass, Fungo Flow/Fungo 50, Junction} . . . my first choice would be Cleary 3336 . . . Iíve given you a number of products as most are targeted for growers in the nursery trade, and some may be hard to find . . . try a garden center or a Lesco if theyíre in your area . . . if that fails, youíll have to read labels of products typically marketed to the homeowner, and sold at big box stores.

You also have an insect(s) chewing on some leaves . . . wouldnít worry about that unless problem becomes much worse (may be a beneficial insect and no need to kill it). Your pic 2 shows some tiny white specs . . . Iím not sure what they are but could be scale . . . they usually show-up mostly on under side of leaves; you might want to double check. An insecticidal soap may correct that problem too if they exist.

Some maintenance thoughts . . . I generally remove any low hanging foliage from plants w/ pruners (about 6Ē of clear trunk from ground) . . . this allows me to apply herbicide (glyphosate) to control any grass or weeds growing in landscape beds. I think you would save lots of time if you applied herbicide to make a landscape bed (roughly equal or slightly less than width of hedge). Once thatís done, add some mulch as that will help slow down weed growth and maintain ground moisture caused by the shading effect and moisture retention of mulch.

Generally, the spacing of your privets are about right . . . a couple of thin spots. I would first concentrate my efforts on returning this hedge to good health, and then make a judgment about whether any plants need to be added. I rarely fertilize my plants . . . in this case, after correcting your pest problem, I would lightly fertilize these plants to help bump start re-growth, and do that 2-3 times for a yr., or until they look healthy . . . with winter not to far off, you might fertilize once in early fall, and then wait for early spring.

If you feel compelled to add some plants . . . first thing to do is properly ID your specific privets or youíll get an odd look if different species are intermingled . . . take a cutting (and preferably a seed pod) and search ďprivet speciesĒ which will pull up pictures which you can use to help make an accurate ID or take these to a garden center, county extension service, and someone there should be familiar with species common to your area. There are native species that vary by regions of the country and several exotic species from other countries which have been widely introduced by landscapers and home owners. Privets are easy to propagate from seed but have a hard coating that should be scarified to greatly improve germination rates . . . because they germinate so easily, some states may list certain exotic species as invasive plants . . . you would have to search your stateís invasive plant list to determine if yours are listed. Here in FL, we have a rather long list of invasive plants but only about 13 have outright bans against selling and planting, and donít include exotic privets.

I would suggest buying, if possible, some 1-gal. size to save money rather than fooling around trying to grow your own . . . usually big box stores sell 3-gal. or larger sizes . . . since your plants are mature and rooted, a wider and deeper 3-gal. is harder to install and does more root damage to your existing plants. Once the area is mulched, you may find juvenile plants popping up from birds pooping while eating the seed . . . you would have to spot and shield these baby plants or your herbicide spray will kill them (the heavy undergrowth (less so since cleaning out) prevents seedlings).

Within a yr. you should be able to get a healthy looking hedge which will better screen street traffic.
 
  #6  
Old 08-11-10, 05:47 PM
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Thanks Rob for the help. Can you recommend a fertalizer? I watered the bushes a few times with merical grow and in the spring I put in some Tree and shrub spikes in the ground near them but not right near the base. I don't think they helped. I have read that cutting them down or doing a hard pruning help to stimulate growth. In the beginning of the summer the one side of bushes looked very thin and bad. I went through and cleaned out as much dead stuff and piling up under them and then I went though and cut out some stalks of what looked like older growth. Now that side seems to be growing thicker and the other side is thinning. If I wanted to do a hard prunning when would be the best time?
Also, I do want to make a mulch bed under them the thicker bushes seem to shade out a lot of stuff other then the craziest weeds and saplings. The thiner bushes have grass and everything growing around them. I have had to replace some bushes in spots were bushes had died and where replaced with dwarf boxwood. It was an interesting sight! I this spring I went on an epic hunt to find Privet because it seems that no one carries it around here anymore. I was told it was out of style. I did find a few plants left at Home Depot after I went to every Nursery in the area. These bushs are old and established so I am going to leave them. Do you think I can/should wait until next spring to do the mulch bed? The stores around here are winding down on selling supplies and I don't have time I think with all my other projects. When I do the bed is it ok to do just one side. The property has a 5 inch thick and 18 inch deep cement trim going all the way around the property and the bushes are planted along the line. I don't want to mess with digging it up since it has been there forever and everything has grown around and under it.
 
  #7  
Old 08-11-10, 07:17 PM
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Hello GTO,

Can you recommend a fertalizer?
For general landscaping, I use Helena 8-4-5 or Helena 8-4-8 depending on availability. The brand is not important, and the ratio of Nitrogen (N)-Phosphorous (P)-Potassium (K) is far more important than the actual numbers themselves . . . Nitrogen (N): produces greening & shoot growth; Phosphorous (P): stimulates root & seeding growth; Potassium (K): protects against disease and drought. A good rule of thumb for a balanced shrub & tree fertilizer is a ratio of 3-1-2 for N-P-K . . . for example, if you found a fertilizer labeled around 12-4-8 that would be fine (i.e., 3-1-2 ratio; doesnít need to be precise and hard to find a correctly balanced fertilizer). Most are overloaded w/ nitrogen as the greening is what people expect to see. I was surprised that Helena had two stores in NJ Helena Chemical Company: About so Iíve posted their website in the off chance they are nearby. They basically sell wholesale to the ag community but might make an exception if youíre a Ďneighborí. Donít go out of your way as you can pick-up suitable fertilizer from a number of different retail centers.

Youíll get better results by lightly fertilizing several times rather than loading-up one time. You mentioned Miracle-Gro which triggered a thought . . . I use the screw on the hose type for some outdoor hanging plants, and this foliar fertilizer could be use to supplement the ground fertilizer in areas that look the worst . . . trail test an area, and see how they respond.

I have read that cutting them down or doing a hard pruning help to stimulate growth. . . . If I wanted to do a hard prunning when would be the best time?
I donít see a need to cut them down to ground . . . I grudgingly do it on rare occasions for certain plants, and sometimes loose a few by doing this technique. From your pics, my impression is that youíve already pruned them to get the desired shape. My thinking would be to leave them alone for remainder of year unless you need to do some light topping do maintain your desired height. Next spring, after they bush out, is when I would do my harder pruning if shaping is required. This gives the plant maximum recovery time to take advantage of fastest growth during summer months. If Iím missing something, reply back w/ more specificity and Iíll try to explain further.

Do you think I can/should wait until next spring to do the mulch bed? . . . When I do the bed is it ok to do just one side. The property has a 5 inch thick and 18 inch deep cement trim going all the way around the property and the bushes are planted along the line. I don't want to mess with digging it up since it has been there forever and everything has grown around and under it.
Do the mulch bed whenever you find the time to do it, and the temperature and humidity drop to more comfortable levels. For sure do just one side . . . way to much work involved otherwise. Some day when you donít have something to do (yea, right!), if you want more privacy from street traffic, it seems you have ample room to plant two or more rows of different shrubs to create an informal garden w/ a tiered look. This would cut down your mowing too.
 
  #8  
Old 08-13-10, 04:58 AM
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Thanks Rob, I think I have enough good info to get started. I think I have two more quick questions I thought of today. For the saplings that are growing in the privet, most I can get out. THe roots of some are so interwinded with the Privet I can't dig them out. I read cutting them down and pouring vineger on the fresh cut will kill it, but I don't think it worked. I also heard to do the same, but use round up. I am a little nervous spraying roundup around the roots of a bush I want to keep. Is this the best method?
I'm also looking at getting a better headge trimmer. I have an old Black and decker 18 inch one now. I was looking at a gas one, but they are two heavy. I don't might electric as long as it is bigger and powerful enough to cut thick stuff. I was looking at the Band D 24" Hegde hog. Will that do a goot job?
 
  #9  
Old 08-13-10, 09:16 AM
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For the saplings that are growing in the privet, most I can get out. THe roots of some are so interwinded with the Privet I can't dig them out. I read cutting them down and pouring vineger on the fresh cut will kill it, but I don't think it worked. I also heard to do the same, but use round up.
Some plants have the ability to reproduce vegetatively by forming adventitious buds that develop into aboveground shoots (most people refer to these as root suckers or propagative roots) . . . privets do this (some species much more than others). You may be finding juvenile plants from seed or root suckers. I make this distinction so your gain knowledge. First, root suckers will not produce a strongly rooted plant, and susceptible to blow down if experiencing high winds. I generally want to get rid of them unless coming from a smaller shrub whose mature height is less than 3í, or certain other plants such as aquatics.

I am a little nervous spraying roundup around the roots of a bush I want to keep. Is this the best method?
Short answer . . . there is no need to be uneasy with this. With respect to using Roundup (always buy generic glyphosate as you should be able to buy it for roughly half the price of Roundup), it works on foliage (think green stuff like leaves, grass, or weeds) largely by translocating the chemical to roots of plant. By Ďcutting them down' there is no foliage, and therefore they wonít be killed. Some mistakenly believe they will get better results by weed whacking or mowing high grass or weeds, and then apply Roundup. Itís just the opposite as the extra greenery allows more chemical to be applied and more moves to the same amount of roots regardless of whatís growing above ground. Knowing that, theoretically, when herbicide spraying a Ďroot suckerí, youíre translocating glyphosate to the mother plant since the juvenile is coming from it . . . this effect doesnít occur with a seedling plant as it has its own roots. I use Ďtheoreticallyí because in most practical situations, there arenít enough root suckers or large ones to move enough chemical to harm the mother plant . . . that is clearly your case based on what I saw in your pics. While on subject of Roundup, donít worry if you inadvertently overspray some chemical on the Ďbarkí (or an above ground root) of tree or shrub as it will do no harm . . . that was reason for me suggesting you remove low hanging foliage or branches near base of plant so that if you overspray, youíre not hitting the greenery (Iím going to skip over a couple of technical points since they donít apply to your situation). Obviously, you donít want to waste expensive chemicals, so the aim is to do precise spraying and not hit non-target stuff. Perhaps because Iím lazy, I would remove the low hanging greenery from your privets, and herbicide treat your remaining weeds, grass, and all juvenile shoots unless certain a juvenile shoot came from seed and precisely where I wanted it to grow . . . this would form the landscape bed we earlier discussed. Next step . . . wait about 10-14 days (everything has turned brown that was sprayed), and weed trim any higher grass, weeds, or dead suckers taking care not to have trimmer line hit base of your privets (if you donít have a weed trimmer, skip this step; reason for this is in case your weeds have weed seeds it helps from leaving them to later sprout but a later application of Roundup will fix that minor problem). Lastly, apply mulch about 3Ē thick . . . a number of wood choices and colors to satisfy individual preferences . . . try buying mulch labeled ĎMSC Certifiedí (Mulch & Soil Council Certified may have different name in some states) . . . some cos. chip up old PT pallets and other construction debris (pieces of metal, glass, plastic bottles, etc.), and you end up moving that garbage on to your property if buying the cheapest possible mulch. If youíre into the environmental/green thing, that will drive you away from hardwood species such as cypress, oak, and pine and take you into stuff like eucalyptus or invasive species growing within your area . . . Iíve found less weed growth in mulched areas where I selectively use pine nuggets (pine bark which comes in different sizes) . . . not sure why, but guess itís because its more coarse and non-matting. When finished mulching, itís advisable to pull the mulch 1Ē to 2Ē from the base of plants to prevent bark decay.

I'm also looking at getting a better headge trimmer. I have an old Black and decker 18 inch one now. I was looking at a gas one, but they are two heavy. I don't might electric as long as it is bigger and powerful enough to cut thick stuff. I was looking at the Band D 24" Hegde hog. Will that do a goot job?
I have Kawasaki KHD600A gas powered, hedge trimmer Kawasaki Engines and Power Products - Hedge Trimmers . . . rarely use it any longer. Gas powered hedge trimmers are a bit heavier but cut down the time as far quicker to use than most electric ones Iíve tried. I also needed mobility as my place is spread out. I see your point given long hedge rows to do, and holding it high is tiring . . . youíre smart to keep hedge around that height so you donít need to work from a ladder adding a lot more maintenance time. I did a quick search, and one you identified seems popular, generally well rated . . . Iím sure you plan on double-sided blades Amazon.com: Hedge Trimmers - Home, Garden & Pets: Home & Garden . . . try posting w/ pic in Outdoor Power Equipment and Small Engines forum as others may be more helpful . . . ask for opinions about overall reliability, blades staying sharp, ease of re-sharpening (approx. cost if having them re-sharpened). Before buying power lawn equipment, I usually check to see if parts and service is available locally, and ask that repair co. for their opinions or alternative suggestions.

How Roundupģ Agricultural Herbicide Works: Monsanto ~ Feature Stories
 
  #10  
Old 08-13-10, 07:03 PM
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Thanks, Rob. I am really learning a lot. So if I have a maple sapling in the middle of my privet. last time I cut it down and put stuff on the fresh cut. This time just alone and spray round up that I already have all over the leave and that will work better.
 
  #11  
Old 08-13-10, 09:15 PM
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So if I have a maple sapling in the middle of my privet. last time I cut it down and put stuff on the fresh cut. This time just alone and spray round up that I already have all over the leave and that will work better.
Correct, just leave it alone and spray it when you do your normal herbicide routine. Once you get your mulch bed in, youíll find many of these issues no longer arise to the degree youíre currently encountering. In the case of the maple or others, these can be sources of new plants on your property if just in the wrong spot. I often dig up certain plants I want more of, and plant in a new location. In restoring a 3 acre lake which had nothing but an invasive grass growing around shoreline, I planted a number of trees and then added cypress, red maple, and other saplings, and also throw seeds around the shoreline.

Your pics were helpful in that it gave me an idea of things youíre likely to encounter, and avoiding stuff that might be encountered in different habitat conditions.

The maple sapling raised an issue of you possibly encountering a different juvenile plant w/ waxy leaves. Remember, it doesnít matter whatís on your property as birds will drop seeds in your yard from plants in the surrounding environment. Waxy leaf plants can be harder to kill. Most have very shiny leaves. The herbicide spray tends to roll off the leaves causing it to be less effective, or ineffective. Should this become an issue at some later time, post back and Iíll provide some things you can do to deal with that kind of problem. If needing to kill an undesirable tree, regardless of size, there is an easy way to do that also with a different chemical and application technique.

One thing you might consider is adding a dye to your spray mix, at least the first time youíre making your beds. When making straight lines or curves, I find it easier to look back where the dye and herbicide has been sprayed to assure my line is staying on course. After youíve got your beds mulched, you probably donít need the dye any longer as youíll be following the edge of the mulch line thereby keeping it straight . . . another alternative, and possibly cheaper, is to lay down a string line the first time if you have trouble keeping a straight line by eye sight.
 
  #12  
Old 08-14-10, 05:23 AM
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I was thinking about using some sort of trim like they sell at home depot going down the bed that wayI would have a better line to follow when I mow the lawn. I will take some more pictures of some of the things popping up out of pivet constantly.
 
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