Privet Bushes – Pruning vs Pulling Out

Q: The variegated privet bushes on the side of our house look pretty sparse at the bottom. Would we kill them if we cut them to sixteen inches above the ground or should we just pull them out and start over?

A: My advice is to pull them up. Truly, you could prune as described and get leaves close to the ground but there are several shrubs that might suit your needs better, including loropetalum, gardenia, Indian hawthorn, and anise.