The Best Fertilizer for a Healthy, Vibrant Privet Hedge

A lush, vibrant privet hedge can be the perfect addition to enhance your landscape. With its glossy green leaves and neat, tailored appearance, a well-maintained privet hedge brings structure and beauty to any garden.

One of the keys to keeping your privet hedge looking its best is proper fertilization. Fertilizing on a regular schedule will promote vigorous growth and rich green coloring. Knowing which fertilizers to use and when to apply them can make all the difference in the health and appearance of your privet hedge.

In this article, we’ll look at the best fertilizer options to use for a thriving, beautiful privet hedge We’ll cover

  • The importance of fertilizing privet hedges
  • When to fertilize
  • Types of fertilizers that work best
  • Fertilizer application methods
  • Organic fertilizer options
  • Signs your privet hedge needs fertilizer
  • Fertilizer tips and precautions

Why Fertilizing is Important for Privet Hedges

Privet hedges have relatively high nutrient requirements, especially for nitrogen Regular fertilization is vital to keep privet hedges growing strongly and looking their best

Fertilizer provides essential macronutrients plants need for good development. This includes:

  • Nitrogen – For lush, green foliage growth
  • Phosphorus – For root growth and flowering
  • Potassium – For overall plant vigor

Without adequate nutrients, privet foliage can turn light green or yellowish – an indication of nutrient deficiency stress. Proper fertilization prevents nutrient deficiencies and promotes:

  • Fast, vibrant spring growth
  • Rich green foliage
  • Healthy stem and root growth
  • Abundant flowers (on flowering varieties)
  • Good density and resistance to pests/diseases

Fertilizing is especially important if your privet hedge is repeatedly pruned into tight formal shapes. The regular trimming removes much of the energy stores in the plant. Fertilizer replenishes nutrients lost through pruning.

When to Fertilize Privet Hedges

Timing fertilizer applications appropriately ensures nutrients are available when the privet hedge needs them most.


The best time to fertilize privet is in early spring, just as new growth is emerging. This allows the plant to take up nutrients effectively to support vigorous growth. Apply fertilizer from late winter to early spring before the privet starts flowering.


A second application in summer (June-July) will support continued strong growth if needed. For privets that are slow growing or nutrient deficient, a summer feeding may help improve hedge density and appearance.


In warm climates (zones 8-10), you can apply a half strength dose of fertilizer in fall after end of season trimming. This will support winter growth. Avoid late fall fertilizing where hard freezes occur.

Avoid Winter Fertilizer

Do not fertilize when the ground is frozen or soil temperatures are too cold for root activity (below 55°F). Fertilizing in winter is largely ineffective as plant uptake is very limited. Much of the nutrients can be lost through leaching or runoff.

Best Fertilizers for Privet Hedges

Look for fertilizers with higher nitrogen content since privet hedges need plenty of nitrogen for lush green growth.

Synthetic Fertilizers

For routine fertilization, a complete synthetic fertilizer with a formula close to:

  • 16-4-8
  • 15-5-10
  • 21-7-14

Works very well. Urea-based synthetic fertilizers also supply a readily available nitrogen source that privet responds well to.

Controlled release fertilizers are a great option as the nutrients are released slowly over 2-4 months. This prevents rapid growth flushes and provides a steady feed.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic options like compost, composted manure, bone meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, and cottonseed meal are excellent organic alternatives. Though they release nutrients more gradually, they steadily build up soil quality.

Whichever fertilizer you choose, avoid “weed and feed” type fertilizer products. These contain herbicides that can damage or kill privet hedges.

How To Apply Fertilizer to Privet Hedges

Proper application technique helps ensure the privet roots fully absorb the nutrients.

Granular Fertilizer

For granular fertilizer, scatter evenly below the outer canopy of the privet. Apply just before a good rain or irrigate thoroughly after to move the nutrients into the root zone.

Use 1/2 to 1 lb of granular fertilizer per 100 sq ft of hedge area. Follow package directions for proper dosage.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers can be mixed with water and poured around the base of each shrub. Concentrated solutions may need dilution – always check the label.

Apply liquid fertilizer to moist soil and water in well after. Liquid seaweed extract is gentle option for foliar feeding.

Fertilizer Spikes

Insert fertilizer spikes 6-8 inches into the ground, spaced evenly just inside the dripline of the hedge. Push into the feeder roots area but not against the main stem.

Use 3-4 spikes per large shrub. Water-soluble spikes release nutrients more readily.

Top dressing

Compost, manure or other organic fertilizers can be mixed into open soil as a nutrient top dressing. Spread 1-2 inches deep under the canopy, keeping it away from stems. Water well to move nutrients into the root zone.

Organic Fertilizer Options for Privet Hedges

Organic fertilizers not only provide nutrients, but also improve soil texture and microbial activity. Consider:

  • Compost – Mix 1-2 inches into soil under hedge canopy.
  • Composted manure – Sheep, cow, horse, chicken, all work well.
  • Worm castings – Rich source of nitrogen and micronutrients.
  • Fish emulsion – Provides fast nitrogen for foliar or soil feeding.
  • Bone/blood meal – Privet responds well to phosphorus in these.
  • Seaweed extracts – Contains beneficial amino acids, micronutrients.

When using organic fertilizers, more frequent applications at lower dosages are needed as they release nutrients more slowly. But they steadily build soil quality for stronger growth.

When Your Privet Hedge Needs Fertilizer

Watch for these signs that your privet hedge needs a nutrient boost:

  • Slow growth – Privet normally grows vigorously in spring and summer when healthy. Slow growth may indicate nutrient deficiency.

  • Light green or yellowing leaves – Are parts of the hedge losing their rich green color? This can signal nitrogen deficiency.

  • Thinning branches – Poor branch density or dieback is a red flag for nutrient deficiency stress.

  • Small leaves and flowers – Privet produces larger, more abundant leaves and flowers when adequately fertilized.

  • Lackluster appearance – Does your privet hedge lack its normal vibrancy and healthy sheen? Fertilizing can help.

  • Increased pest/disease susceptibility – Stressed plants are more prone to problems.

If your privet hedge shows any of these signs, fertilizing can likely restore its health, beauty and vigor.

Tips for Fertilizing Privet Hedges

Follow these tips to keep your privet hedge well nourished and looking its best:

  • Test your soil pH and amend if needed – privets prefer a slightly acidic pH between 6.0-7.0.

  • Apply fertilizer before heavy rains are expected to improve nutrient absorption.

  • Reapply fertilizer mid-season if growth seems slow. Hedges repeatedly pruned into tight formal shapes often need extra nutrients.

  • Alternate between synthetic and organic fertilizers for well-rounded nutrition.

  • Look for signs of nutrient deficiencies and fertilize promptly to prevent decline.

  • Avoid over-fertilization which can cause excessive leggy growth.

  • Rake up and remove debris under hedge to improve air circulation and growth.

  • Address drainage issues – privets need adequate moisture but dislike soggy soil. Improve drainage if overly wet.

Proper fertilization encourages a thick, dense, vibrant privet hedge that maintains its rich green color all season. Pay attention to signs of nutrient needs, use high quality fertilizers, and fertilize at the right times of year. With the right fertilizer regimen, your privet hedge can thrive for years to come.

Fertilizing a hedge – just like feeding chickens!


When should I fertilize my privet hedge?

Fertilizing should be done once a year in the spring as the new growth starts and just before the flowers break bud.

How to encourage privet hedge growth?

The privet hedge should be watered regularly during dry periods, and an application of hedge feed should be done in the early spring to promote new growth. Additionally, privet hedges should be pruned at least once a year to keep them in shape and encourage healthy growth.

What is the best way to feed a privet hedge?

Soil Preparation and Feed: Incorporate Bonemeal into the soil at planting which is high in phosphorous and promotes root growth. Annually apply a balanced slow releasing feed to the soil as a top dress. This will help to keep the hedge healthy with strong new growth.

What fertilizer is best for hedges?

A slow-release phosphorous fertiliser or organic fertiliser mix is advised for these hedges, along with potassium fertiliser in autumn to promote hardening of shoots. For optimal nutrient availability throughout the growing season, a slow release fertiliser should be applied in early spring and late summer.

Do privet hedges need fertilizer?

Privet hedges can be wonderfully supplied with fertilizers for conifers or evergreen plants. They are not particularly demanding when it comes to the composition of their food, but they do need a high proportion of nitrogen. This is important for the development of shoots and leaves.

How do you fertilize a privet hedge?

At the end of August, you should treat the plants to autumn fertilization with a potash fertilizer. The potassium supports the hardening of newly formed shoots and makes the plant less susceptible to frost damage. Privet hedge: how and with what fertilize? Privet hedges can be wonderfully supplied with fertilizers for conifers or evergreen plants.

How often should I fertilize my privet hedge?

Whether you fertilize your privet hedge once or twice a year in the following years depends on the choice of fertilizer. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, basic fertilization in the spring before the first budding in March / April is sufficient.

How do you grow a privet hedge?

Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and avoid excessive fertilization, as it may lead to weak, leggy growth. Encouraging privet hedge growth involves a combination of proper planting, regular pruning, adequate watering, and pest management.

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