Privet hedges are deciduous bushes that grow quickly and can soon overpower an area in your landscaping. Some varieties have a white bloom in the early summer and others have a blue-black fruit. Many homeowners plant this hedge because it provides privacy and a sound barrier. It is necessary to control the shrub with proper pruning techniques.
Analyze the bush to decide if it is too tall or wide. These bushes are fast-growing and may need both areas trimmed a few times each year. The limbs grow at the same rate as grass.The correct height is your personal preference, although it is best to keep it at a height you can reach well with pruning shears. Keep the width so that it does not overextend the walkway or other boundaries.
Shape and control your privet hedge with a hand pruner or electric trimmer. Do this in the early spring before blooming. Cut the branches at different lengths to give it the most natural look and to avoid looking like it received a "haircut." Cut 1/4 inch above an existing bud.
Remove any broken, diseased or overcrowded stems at ground level. This will give the stem a chance to produce a healthy branch and will also provide sunlight and circulation in the hedge.
Cut away any branches that rub against each other. This creates open wounds that are privy to disease.
Reduce new shoots by 1/3 or 1/2 their length. This will create stronger shoots and create more side shoots.