I planted a hedge wall of Legustrum in my yard in Aug.

2010. The lower part of the shrubs have not filled in as nicely as the top part. My yard guy told me I planted them too deep when I planted them and that is why they haven't filled in on the lower parts a much as they could. I put them at ground level and then added mulch on top of that. My question is, what can I do now to make them fill in on the lower part. Should I dig them up and replant them? Should I scrap 2-4 inch deep ring of soil away from the base of each plant?
q i planted a hedge wall of legustrum in my yard in aug 2010 the lower part of the, gardening, landscape
  14 answers
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Dec 09, 2011
    are they in full sun? How have you fertilized?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 10, 2011
    A common mantra for planting in our part of Florida is "plant them high, they will thrive," but I'm not sure planting depth is the reason your plants haven't filled in. Try snipping off the ends of the branches, which should encourage fuller growth. You can do this now, but definitely do it before the spring flush of growth. It also appears to me that the plants are very close together for ligustrum. If air circulation is inhibited, you are much more likely to have problems with whitefly and sooty mold as the plants increase in size and get denser.

  • Joe Washington Joe Washington on Dec 10, 2011
    Yes, definately full sun. The Tree Form Legustrum in this picture were originally installed as foundation plants by the builder. I never understood that. They weren't getting enough moisture and were spindly and small until I moved them to create a screen. My only mistake was not planting them far enough apart. Granted, they need trimming but this is what you can look forward to once the plants have a chance to mature.

  • These young plants are too close together. However, they are malnourished based on their lack of growth and I strongly suggest a soaker hose or water emitters to do routine deep root watering. In dry sandy soil the plants will continue to struggle without enough water and fertilizer.Use generous amounts of Milorganite and hand water in. Water soluable balanced fertilizer can also be supplemented in the spring each month until October in Florida.

  • Mike and Anne Mike and Anne on Dec 10, 2011
    The problem looks a lot like what happens when a container grown plant is rootbound and then gets put in a planting hole without breaking up the rootball. I'd dig one plant up to see if there is sign of root growth into the soil. If the roots are still tightly bound in a ball you may still be able to pry them apart and replant. Ligustrum is a full sun plant and will thrive if the roots are in soil that is not too wet.

  • Scott O Scott O on Dec 10, 2011
    Thank you everyone for your answers. All very helpful stuff. To answer questions posed, yes, they are in full sun and yes I have been fertilizing them for the last five months only. So, it appears the planting height isn't as much of an issue I originally thought? Should I still remove soil from around the base or dig up and plant higher? If they've been there since Aug. of 2010, is it too late to dig them up?

  • Wow! All these wonderful Panelist answering this post!! I want to thank Vince and Walter again for having me on their Radio Shows. Mike and Anne, I look forward to speaking with you both next Saturday! Joe, it is always wonderful to read your posts.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 11, 2011
    From the way they look, Scott, I don't think there's going to have been much root development, so transplanting them should not be an issue. The main reason to do this is to move them farther apart. If you do this, you must commit to watering them every day for the first two weeks, and they need to get regular deep watering after that. Add Milorganite and Black Kow to the soil when you transplant.

  • Thank you Lee Anne,but I am the grateful one. Having you on was such a great idea . It was just like talking to a long time friend over Starbucks in a rocking chair. Your designs are exceptional and we all have so much respect for you. It's all about helping others to the best of our abilities and you are the best team player ever!The more we help others, the faster we can beautify the world, even if it is one home at a time. God Bless, and have the best Christmas ever!

  • Scott O Scott O on Dec 12, 2011
    Thank you Doug for your comments about transplanting. How far apart should they be when I replant, and does the time of year matter? Should I do it now, December, or wait until the Spring? Also, if I don't transplant, what will happen? Will they just never fill out?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 12, 2011
    I did a lot of transplanting yesterday, Scott, just in time for some much-needed rain, and you could certainly do so now as welll. As I mentioned above, watering is crucial. If you tip the plants, get them plenty of water and some good slow-release fertilizer, they should start to flush out and fill in. Five feet apart is standard spacing for a ligustrum hedge. The main problem with the closer spacing is the lack of air circulation as the plants mature, making them susceptible to disease.

  • Scott O Scott O on Dec 12, 2011
    Thank you again for this information. It leads me to a few follow-up questions. 1) I planted other shrubs at the same time as this hedge last August. The Legustrum in front of my house get pruned at 2-3 feet high. Should those also be 5 feet apart? 2) Should I worry about the temperature outside when I transplant. For example, should I worry about not doing it if it is below a certain temperature? 3) And finally, I also planted some Gardenias that I placed 2-3 feet apart. They look fine now and are about four feet high. Should I dig them up and make them 5 feet apart too? Thanks.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 12, 2011
    Ligustrum is entirely the wrong plant to try to keep at 2 to 3 feet high, Scott. Something like Indian hawthorn would be a much better choice. You don't want to do the transplanting when temperature adds to the stress, either too cold or too hot. Unless temperatures take a precipitous plunge, the weather we're having now is fine. Good air circulation is crucial for gardenias. You do not want gardenias growing together into a mass, but it is hard to specify spacing without knowing what cultivar you have.

  • Joe Washington Joe Washington on Dec 14, 2011
    @Douglas, agreed! Even Lorapetalum would work. It handlles sun and shade well, blooms, has great seasonal color variation, and I've seen it used as a hedge. Check out Walter's link: http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/loropetalum-2/.