Invasive Species – Privets


Privet (Ligustrum spp) forms dense stands that out-compete native plants. It spreads rapidly and uses the light, space, and water that native species need to survive. Privets were first introduced for use in gardens, especially used for hedges.


The grass appears to be more stem than leaves, rising to about 3.5 ft, but often bending over. Their green leaves have a distinctive off-center shiny midrib. The leaves are alternate and very spaced along the stem. Thin flower stalks appear in late summer with tightly clustered flowers and seeds. Each plant releases many seeds before it dies by late fall.


Young plants can be pulled by hand, but shrubs must be cut at the base and painted with herbicide. The plants can also be sprayed with herbicide systematically in late autumn or early spring (this is effective for very large stands of the privet).


There are a number of native species that are better for the environment, including Inkberry Holly, Arrowwood Viburnum, and Spicebush.