I have a privet hedge in my front yard that is too high and wide for my small front yard. Can the hedge be cut back to the ground in order to start over? If not, how far from the ground. Finally, can the work be done this year? Thanks!
What you want to do is called renewal or rejuvenation pruning and it is very useful when a shrub has become overgrown. Privet Ligustrum is a very tough plant and will regenerate after you cut it back. The best time to do this though, with an older plant, is in the late winter or early spring when the plant is still dormant. It can be cut down to just above the ground and as a vigorous grower will have new shoots almost immediately. Make sure that you fertilize and water the plant after pruning and once you have your hedge growing again be sure to prune it back by one-third annually to keep it healthy.
Here is some great information on pruning privets: