Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) first came to the United States around the year 1852. Originally used for ornamental purposes, by the 1930’s this species had grown beyond containment and began its spread across the Southeast. Now it is common to find most forms of it in low wet areas, woodlands, and along streams where the area holds similarities to its native Chinese habitat.
Sadly privet has played a significant part in the decline of native herbaceous plants. When it begins to infest an area, it takes over! This plant's ability to “outcompete” local vegetation makes it very difficult to contend with. This shrub's competitive superiority is due to its ability to adapt, especially when it comes to variations and exposure to sunlight. It matures quickly and reproduces both sexually and asexually allowing its seeds to spread by wind and animals. It can rapidly colonize various soils, especially when disturbed, and by being more “tree-like” it can outpace similar native shrubs. This plant is an especially stubborn survivor.
But now for the good news. When felled by hand, mulched, or bulldozed, and with a little ongoing maintenance, your area might remain free and clear for up to five years. What’s more, the absence of this invasive plant allows for a fast return of native plant species as well as a sharp increase of pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Due to these factors, we strongly recommend the clearing and removal of unwanted privet on your property.
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