The Q&A Archives: Trimming Of Golden Privet Shrubs.

Question: I have planted Golden Privet shrubs early this spring and they have done very well. How do I trim these shrubs to keep them under control? I do know they can get quite large.


Golden privet, also called Golden Vicary, is an adaptable deciduous shrub. Privets are often planted in groups as a hedge, and pruned into a formal boxy shape. They tolerate this type of pruning very well. However, they can also be allowed to take on a more natural shape. This is especially popular with varieties such as the yellow leaved Golden Privet. Since they naturally have a nice shape, pruning is generally only needed to keep them to your desired size. Pruning can be done almost any time of the year, except in August and September when pruning will encourage new growth which will not harden off before the cold of winter sets in. Also don't prune if the temperature is below freezing. Late winter or early spring is an ideal pruning time. It's true that with this pruning time you will lose the early white blooms of the Golden Vicary, but they are pretty insignificant anyway.

To keep the shrub natural looking, cut back branches individually at different levels so they don't end up with a "crewcut" appearance. It's easier to prune the shrub on a regular yearly schedule, rather than waiting until the privet is too overgrown. As I said, privets are adaptable, so don't be afraid to test your pruning skills on them.

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