Answer: Privet does best in full sun with good soil and ample moisture. To be honest I suspect the ends of the hedge are sitting on or near maple roots and are struggling because they can't oucompete the trees for water, nutrients and sunlight. Unfortunately, in cases like this there is very little you can do to even out the hedge short of removing the trees. You could try to give those sections extra water and fertilizer, though, and see if it helps a bit, but they will not look as good as the middle plants out in more light. With regard to the gas leak, the gas company can tell you if there is a gas line there and if so will check it for leaks. If there is a chance that is the case you really should call them right away.
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