Ligustrums: What are they good for?

basilette(8b)March 22, 2009

I just bought a lovely house in north-central Austin, and in the front yard there are six 2-3' tall ligustrums planted about 4 feet away from the foundation. I'm definitely ripping them out, but I'm wondering if they have ANY utility elsewhere in my yard. Someone suggested planting them along my backyard fence as a kind of screen, but my yard backs up to a park and I don't really want them blocking the view. Also, would they hog water and nutrients? (I'm planning to plant a vegetable garden and fruit trees in the backyard.) I hate to toss perfectly good plants ... are ligustrums good for anything but the compost heap?

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kwselke(8 Houston, TX)

Ligustrums make a very good hedge and some people like their flowers in the Spring. Here in Houston I've grown vegetable gardens close to ligustrum hedges and not noticed any adverse effects.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 3:36PM
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Depending on what kind of ligustrums, I think they can be very nice. I think it is Japanese Ligustrum maybe that gets to be tree size - 10 to 20 ft. These can be pruned in a bonsai fashion and can have a very nice asian/chinese look that I think is lovely.

I'm planning on taking a couple of cuttings from my neighbors "ligustrum tree" which is about 15 ft in height and plant in my yard. I've bought the wire already that I will need so I can start "training" it early for those lovely horizontal branches that add a nice look. I also think the blooms in the spring are very nice though some are allergic.

They handle clay soil pretty well and are evergreen which is an extra plus, IMO. But I don't like ligustrum the way it sounds like they were planted in your yard, as a foundation hedge that needs to be pruned every year straight across the top, very boring IMO.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:15PM
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Ligustrums are great at screening an area from view - great for breaking your yard up into "rooms" or hiding a utility area. Once established they are tolerent of drought as well.

If you don't want them, I am sure you can give them away to neighbors.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 8:50PM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

ugh...spare your neighbors. A house across the street has these shading the west side of their house. The birds eat the seeds and spread them all over the neighborhood. I'm constantly pulling up sprouts in my yard. Mowing them over doesn't kill them.

Since you back up to a should consider how invasive this non-native can be.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:58AM
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They are considered to be invasive.

Check out this link:

Here is a link that might be useful: City of Austin invasive species list

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:12AM
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texas.transplant(8b TX)

"Ligustrum! HUH! Good God ya'll! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"

Okay, sorry about that one. You may groan and roll your eyes at will. I couldn't resist!

And for the record, they're not that bad. :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 12:32PM
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You can put an add in Craigslist under FREE -- I am sure that someone will want them. I have some growing in a flower bed in my front yard. The previous owners actually paid good money for them -- we trimmed the heck out of them today and found a Home Depot tag. We have been in our house for about a year now, and I don't like them, so that is why we are trimming them to almost nothing.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:30PM
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You can cut them down to the ground but they'll be back. You have to dig them out and even then... John Dromgoole from the Natural Gardener nursery calls the Wax Leaf Digustrums. I can't stand them but my husband continues to defend them. How am I supposed to be certified a wild life habitat with them and china berry trees. China berry trees are the worst. Messy seeds and they come up everywhere. Yuck.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:04PM
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I'm at a loss as to what they are good for. They are ugly, boring, non-native, invasive... I'm not a big fan of most green bushes. I think boxwoods were invented to drive gardeners crazy.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:42AM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

""Ligustrum! HUH! Good God ya'll! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"


oh - and WHY do boxwoods smell like cat pee???? I just hate that. I used to think it was just the one clump attracted cats there to pee. But in my new neighborhood, they are everywhere and they all stink! yuck!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:45PM
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I vote for the compost heap! :-D

Over-planted, can be aggressive - and black spot! Why would anyone put up with anything less than a rose for that?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:54AM
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