What is killing my privet?

May, 2022
Darren Spalding

You'll almost certainly find the telltale black laces or rhizomorphs on the woody trunks that are bioluminescent. They glow in the dark once they've been exposed to oxygen. In particular, ligustrum (ligustrum) is very susceptible to honey agaric. Privet hedges grow well and are easy to maintain.

Remove the infected hedge as soon as possible, but do not compost material. Your hedge is already irreversibly ill and all diseased parts should be removed and preferably burned.

Why are my privet hedges dying?

In the genius Ligustrum, a member of the olive family, there are 40 to 50 species of privet. They usually have oval leaves and sometimes blackberries and aromatic white flower clusters. If the leaves on your privet hedge curl, turn yellow or reddish, and start to die, your hedge may have withered. Yellow or red-capped piles of mushrooms on the soil line around privet in autumn or winter signal advanced armillaria infection. I like a hornbeam hedge (Carpinus betulus) because the autumn leaves persist well into winter. However, if you want something evergreen, try the English yew (Taxus baccata).

How do you revive a dying privet hedge?

For now, I'm going to leave it there in the hope that someone with more knowledge about privet than my own - I also had privet protection in recent days - will come with suggestions. However, you notice that certain parts of the privet line have begun to wilt for no apparent reason. If necessary, cut the hedge back at least 20cm below your final desired hedge height while removing deadwood from the hedge. For example, privet hedges are particularly susceptible to honey agarics that attack the roots of the plant.

Waiting for the new growth to fully open up and the spring rains have subsided before feeding privet and watering them from the bottom to keep foliage dry will reduce the risk of infection.

How is privet disease treated?

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects plants in spring in cool and wet weather, mainly on leaves and branches. Try to remove infected plants with root balls intact and stop planting privet in the same hole. Dry and hot weather stops the progression of the disease, which can start again as soon as weather conditions are optimal. It is important to pick up and dispose of all diseased plant parts, including branches and leaves, from the ground or around the plant.

Chemical treatment is rarely used, except when the disease involves newly transplanted plants or continuous defoliation.


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