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Invasive Plants Series: Privet

Privet shrubs (Ligustrum) are generally grown as large deciduous to semi-evergreen screens and hedges. They are widely planted still commonly available for sale.

Native to Europe and Asia, there are four privet species considered to be invasive to Pennsylvania by DCNR: Ligustrum japonicum, L. obtusifolium, L. sinense and L. vulgare.

As with many invasive plants, privet can easily invade any area with disturbed soil and quickly forms a dense thicket. This, as we know, displaces natives and provides little ecological value for wildlife.

Privet produces a lot of berries - spreading seed generally by birds. Remember, the berries of non-native plants do not contain the right nutrition to fuel our native birds during their migration. I recently found privet growing alongside mulberry and honeysuckle on a client's property. Even if you don't see it spreading on your own property, the birds are carrying it elsewhere.

They can be very difficult to eradicate, generally the use of herbicides is required. In this case, it is recommended that any treated plants remain undisturbed for at least a year, to make sure all of the roots of the plants have been irradiated.

Sources: DCNR, Invasive Plants Atlas

PHOTO: 15299 on Pixabay

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