I have a problem with a privet hedge and a clematis that I planted last
They are in my front garden which is west facing.
A few months ago the privet started dropping leaves and the clematis
started to shrivel.
Initially I put it down to being winter until recently where it now
looks as though something else might be going on.
The privet does seem to be getting new shoots/buds/er... I don't know
what they are called.
I am a complete novice gardener (I'm sure this is stunningly obvious by
I've uploaded some photo's of what is going on- any help is
Can the clematis or the hedge be saved?
Leaves from the hedge:
Who placed all those stones and how long have they been there? I'll
bet you placed them relatively recently and they are leaching minerals
in a concentrate that is toxic to your plants... first thing I'd do is
remove ALL those stones... they look awful anyway.
I have never seen privet look so sick, it is pretty hard to kill. What has
changed in the period the problem has happened? Was it especially wet (or
dry)? Did you start (or stop) watering? Did you fertilise or alter the
beds in any way? What is the white rock? Was something built, repaired,
spilt or demolished nearby? Did you spray with anything?
It has been particularly cold this winter.
I did water it a bit over the winter but I figured it would need less as
it was raining.
I didn't spray it with anything nor fertilise it.
Before the winter it was growing really well- then in the last few
months it has dropped its leaves.
The white rock is just a decorative rock that we got at a garden
I can't remember what it is called.
Could that be the problem then?
Should I be fertilising it?
Don't worry about the chippings. They won't do any damage. If the
clematis isn't supposed to be an evergreen one (and it doesn't look like
it) it is perfectly normal for it to look like that at the end of
winter. But you should soon be seeing the buds break and new green
growth appearing. Depending on what type of clematis it is, it might
need to be pruned around now. If you still have the label on it that
should tell you.
The privet looks bad.. But if there are new shoots appearing, it might
recover - they are very tough plants. It is just possible that with all
the rain we had last autumn the privet started to drown. If you are on
clay soil, and when you planted the privet you "improved" things by
putting it in decent soil/compost, you may have created a sump effect.
Basically, clay is pretty impervious to water, and if you dig a hole in
it, and it rains a lot, that hole will just fill with water and it won't
drain away. The problem will occur even if you fill the hole with
compost or sand - the water simply cannot get through the clay walls of
Whatever, you have nothing to lose by waiting and seeing if the plants
grow back. If they are dead, then replace them, but bear in mind my
comments about a sump. Privet will happily grow in clay soil, so just
dig a hole, put the privet in, and put back the soil you dug out.
Not knowing where you are that doesn't tell me much.
Plants don't need much water while dormant in the winter and there is little
evaporation, so the rain may have been plenty. Not knowing where you are,
your climate or soil it hard to say. Dropping all the leaves can be caused
by drowning. Dig down next to the roots, if the soil is dark and sticky and
smells bad the roots may have rotted from excess water. If they are wet
don't water any more until they are fairly dry and growth has started.
Are the stems still flexible? Wait until there are good signs of spring
growth in your district, if nothing from your privet it's likely dead.
Probably not important unless it has something nasty spilled on it. Most
rocks are inert, even those that are not (eg limestone) when in large chunks
don't produce much change in soil and that is very slow as they are only
I doubt it.
No. Wait until it shows signs of spring growth and then fertilise
First day of proper sun today and the privet seems to be coming back
from the dead.
The buds are starting to open a bit.
I suspect I have an ex-clematis though.
I'll remove the stones, put down some new top soil and feed/water more
In the first picture you can see some black spots on the leaves.
Could that be a fungus?
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