My Privet Problem

slowlane(7)March 3, 2006

I'm sure ya'll have never heard THIS before, but I have a problem with privet. It surrounds my .77 acre yard on most of two sides, and it provides excellent cover for my birds, bunnies, 'possums and armadillos, but it's making it difficult for me to plant much else.

So I'm considering pruning the privet back to an actual hedge (it's natural growth now) and planting in front of it. BUT I don't want to traumatize the critters that live in the privet, especially not as they are are getting ready to produce babies for spring.

Do you think the pruned privet together with new planting would keep the critters happy? If so, when should I prune? I'll be planting young plants which will need time to grow before they offer much cover, etc., so should I prune just a section of privet, plant and wait for growth, and then do another section, or can I do it all at once?

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Privet is a non-native invasive plant. Although it makes for nice habitat, the reason you are having trouble planting near it is that it is so invasive. I would suggest that you replace the privet a little at a time with shrubs that are native to your area. That would make better habitat and have less impact on the environment. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 8:54PM
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I'm afraid I'll need a LOT of luck to get rid of all this privet without using chemicals (not an option). Maybe a backhoe and a few sticks of dynamite....

Thanks for the suggestion, Vonyon. I'll give it a shot.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 9:24PM
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I had privet the legnth of my yard we trimmed it a couple times a year.I wouldnt get rid of it.Helps protect yard from wind,privacy.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 2:16PM
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Perhaps you have to visit the south to truly appreciate the invasiveness of this plant. Especially in the winter because that is when you can see just how much this plant has spread into natural areas (once all the deciduous plants have dropped their leaves). It is the number one invasive in the southeast for disrupting native habitat and disruption of native habitat does not help wildlife. It has covered/destroyed more habitat than kudzu.

Here is tool that we use when pulling out privet in parks and other natural areas. You may be able to rent one from a tool rental place.

As far as the chemical route is concerned, just cut the shrub to the ground and paint the cut edges with herbicide. There is no spillage and it only affects the plant itself.

I agree with the approach to replace a section at a time. A mixed shrub border would be better for wildlife as diversity is better than a monoculture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weed wrench

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 9:58PM
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Bulldinkie, I'll give that a try for the sections I haven't gotten around to ripping up yet :)

Esh, thanks for the info on the Weed Wrench. It looks like a big pair of vice grips with a lever on the back--bet my welder hubby can make some if I can't rent them.

Thanks, both of you, for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 9:15PM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

esh, here in my part of PA we are seeing the same kind of invasiveness with butterfly bush (tho not to the extent of kudzu or privet in the South). You are seeing purple butterfly bush along all the roads these days! HAs it destroyed habitat and other natives? I don't know that anybody has done anything statistical to that end. But I know for sure, 53 years of living in this area and it's only in the last 3 or 4 I am seeing butterfly bush growing wild around here along the roadside! I think the BBG now has it listed in their list of invasives.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 7:23PM
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