Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Saga Money Go to Saga Money
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

My privet hedge is dying

Val Bourne / 26 March 2019

A reader's privet hedge is dying off. Gardening expert Val Bourne suggests what could be causing it and recommends what to replace it with.

Privet hedge
A reader is looking for a replacement for a diseased privet hedge


I have a long privet hedge but a large section has died. Is there a disease that affects privet hedges, and are there any remedies? If the soil is infected what fast-growing shrub could I replace it with?


Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is highly susceptible to honey fungus, Armillaria mellea, and this is almost certainly the cause of death. There is no cure. Remove the infected hedge as soon as you can, but don’t compost any material. You will almost certainly find the tell-tale, black bootlaces, or rhizomorphs, on the woody trunks and these are bioluminescent. They glow in the dark, once exposed to oxygen.

The obvious replacement is the round-leaved laurel, Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia'. This fast-growing glossy evergreen is rarely affected by honey fungus, but may need three trims a year. The slower-growing variegated Highclere holly, Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Golden King’, or the prickly evergreen Berberis x stenophylla both make good hedges and a yearly trim usually suffices.

Try 12 issues of Saga Magazine

Subscribe today for just £29 for 12 issues...


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.