Privet - Ligustrum sinense
A member of the olive family (Oleaceae), Chinese privet is a shrub which
can grow to twelve feet in height. Leaves are oval or elliptical, two
inches long, and opposite. Chinese privet is distinguished from other
privets by the presence of fine hairs on the twigs and underside of leaves.
Small, white, four-petaled flowers grow in panicles at the ends of branches.
The fleshy blue fruits, less than a quarter-inch in diameter, contain
a hard seed. Several other privet species have been introduced into Virginia,
but none have proven as invasive as Chinese privet.
Chinese privet prefers wet damp habitat. It is usually found in low
woods, bottomlands, streamsides, and disturbed areas.
Native to China, Chinese privet is found in Virginia, North Carolina,
Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This plant is found throughout most
Chinese privet can dominate the shrub layer of an invaded habitat, thus
altering species composition and natural community structure by choking
out native plant species. It shades out all herbaceous plants. Thousands
of acres have been invaded by Chinese privet in North Carolina.
Controlling plants by hand is effective for plants with stems one inch
or less in diameter. The entire root must be removed. Mechanical methods
such as cutting or plowing will result in an increase of growth.
Chinese privet can be controlled with use of a glyphosate herbicide.
Glyphosate herbicides are recommended because they are biodegradable.
However, glyphosate is a nonselective systemic herbicide that affects
all green vegetation. To be safe and effective herbicide use requires
careful knowledge of the chemicals, appropriate concentrations, and the
effective method and timing of their application. For Chinese privet,
a foliar application in late summer is recommended. To avoid killing desirable
plant species, spray in late fall after most natives have dropped their
leaves. A combination of cutting followed immediately by application of
glyphosate to the stump is reported to be the most effective in ensuring