Weeding Invasive Privet

Invasive privet in full bloom

Invasive privet in full bloom

Throughout Alabama, privet (Ligustrum vulgare and Ligustrum sinense) are in bloom. These large, lax evergreen shrubs are non-native invasive plants that present real weeding problems to gardeners throughout the state. In the fall, the dull blue-black fruit are consumed by birds. Bird droppings introduce the seeds everywhere, and too many of them germinate.

invasive privet seedlings

A two-leaved, week-old privet seedling; a slightly larger, easier to spot seedling; and a month-old seedling.

Pictured are a two-leaved, week-old seedling; a slightly larger, easier to spot seedling; and a month-old seedling. Anything larger than a foot tall can be difficult to pull. But, removal of these invasive privet seedlings as soon as they are spotted is just good gardening. Herbicides are not reliable on older privet plants, and seedlings are often hidden in the foliage of valuable garden plants. So, today I weeded privet. I just wish I could say I got through with that task.

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

One thought on “Weeding Invasive Privet

  1. We battle the invasive privet year-round at the river. Digging up the big ones, pulling up the little ones. With the really big ones, we have had luck sawing them down and painting the cuts with undiluted brush killer.

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