I just purchased a number of amur river north privets that are about 1.5 ft tall and are in 7 inch containers that I will be planting as a hedge in about a months time when my landscaping is done.
My question is how do I care for these shrubs while they are in their containers. I have them outside in an area that gets mostly sun from noon on and was wondering if they should be in an area that gets less direct sun so as to not dry out the soil too much? What about the small flowers on top should I prune these or just leave them be?
One other thing I should mention is that I will be planting these shrubs in soil that was under a concrete slab driveway that I will be removing and was wondering what I should do to the soil before planting the shrubs, and what is the best spacing I should plant them to get a thick privacy hedge. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Amur North River Privets (Ligustrum amurense) is a fast growing and adaptable shrub that grows 10-15 ft tall. It does require frequent pruning to be kept at a certain height.
While the shrubs are in the containers it’s very important to keep them moist. Especially if they are in smaller containers. The containers should not be in standing water (they are susceptible to rot root) but do keep them cool and perhaps put them somewhere not so hot. July is fairly late to be planting shrubs – take care to plant them on an overcast day or at least a cooler day to prevent transplant shock.
The flowers can affect people with allergies but if that’s not an issue for you, they can probably be left without much worry.
The soil under your driveway is going to be extremely compacted – this is a real challenge for any shrub to thrive in. It prevents water and oxygen from reaching the roots and will limit root growth (therefore impacting tree health). Once soil is compacted it is permanently changed. You have three options: remove the compacted soil and replace it with good quality top soil, amend the soil or bury it under suitable soil.
Soil replacement can be very expensive – you’ll need to replace 18 inches to 3 feet to provide enough space for roots to grow. If you are able to replace the soil your shrubs may thrive much better.
Burying the compacted soil would require the 18 inches to 3 feet of soil on top of the compacted soil. The challenge with this method is that water can then pool on top of the compacted soil affecting root growth. Try to make sure that the soil that you are adding is as similar to the soil underneath as possible.
The last option is amending the soil. Keep in mind that soil creation takes many many years and amendments are a quick fix that will need additional work over time (mulching in particular). Depending on your soil type you would need to till in sand and organic matter to create a lighter soil.
The privets spread is 8-10 feet so you’ll want to make sure that your planting 4-5 feet apart to allow for enough room for the trees to mature.
All the best luck with your new shrubs! See below for some further reading