Newbie questions about pruning privet hedge

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On 3/20/2008 1:12 PM, ajax wrote:

Privet (genus Ligustrum) takes very well to shearing. If you are ambitious, you might even try topiary with them.
In general, a hedge should be sheared to be a little wider at the bottom than at the top, with slightly sloping sides. This ensures that enough light reaches the foliage at the bottom. With vertical sides, less light reaches the bottom, resulting in die-out of the lower branches.
I'm a docent at a public garden that's a showcase of garden design concepts from different parts of the world. The privet in the French garden is sheared about once every second week from late spring until middle fall and about once a month during the rest of the year. It's kept to about 3 ft high. That's because the design concept for the French garden is formality, with symmetry and geometry. In the French garden, boxwood and even the star jasmine are also sheared. (In the English garden, however, plants are not sheared; they billow irregularly.)
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Thanks very much for the useful advice!
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ajax


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