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did I make a big mistake

Posted by akewa 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 5, 07 at 23:11

I was just reading the shrub forum and some from Tn mention that privet was real invasive. I bought 2 curly leaf to cover the east side of the house, they are loaded with berries. Should I have chosen something else? We wanted a big shrub that could feed the birds. In Fl I grew golden dew drop for this but here I do not know. I want something informal not that I need to shear that the wild birds will eat the berries of. I have no problem getting rid of these if they will be a problem for me. We are on 4+ acres and last thing we need is something invasive like the brambles we are dealing with popping up everywhere.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: did I make a big mistake

If you don't mind getting rid of them, then do it. Privet is VERY invasive. I used to love the untrimmed privet hedge at the house where I grew up -- they can be quite attractive, and I'm one of the people who loves the smell of the blooms (some people hate it) -- but that was before I knew better!

There are many good native and non-native shrubs and small trees to feed birds with. Holly (many types!), service berry, viburnum (many types!), and blueberry are just a few of the possibilities.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

We bought an old farmstead that goes back 200 years. At some point someone planted privet. A neighbor bought a couple of acres off of it before we got the bulk of the farm; he let the privet go to provide bird habitat. His privet is 25 feet high, can be cut for fire wood, and each stem makes tens of thousands of seeds, which the birds spread.
The little privets can be pulled in their first six months. After maybe two years, grubbing works. After three to five years, our 3/4T pickup can't pull them out of moist soil.
Cattle grazing kept some under control because they didn't go to seed.
I hate privet.
Although I was tempted to carve the form of a sleeping cat in one sixty foot long, fifteen foot high patch.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

North of us is a 30 acre farm which is 45 feet from these. The pasture does have cows in it so I am worried if they would take over unless the cows will eat the small plants. Another worry is the roots for it is not far from our spectic box. Maybe 3 to 4 ft. When I lived in west palm beach the house I had there had some that were sheard and we pulled them out. That was fun Not. Hubby talks like he wants to keep them saying everything will be spread by birds.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 07 at 14:45

There is something else to consider. Depending on where you live, there are probably thousands of privet monsters within a short distance. Therefore, your two shrubs will not likely make any noticeable or measurable difference outside of a very short range from where they are planted. If you keep your yard mowed and don't allow the seedlings to develop, the privets hopefully won't even be a problem there. When an invasive is already widely present in an area, adding a relatively tiny amount more will not change anything and therefore may be justified if there are advantages (you like it).

I'm not necessarily recommending you plant the shrubs, but I am saying that you shouldn't worry too much if you do.


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RE: did I make a big mistake P.S.

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 07 at 14:58

P.S. ......

Privet usually doesn't develop or spread in a field. You'll commonly find it in fencerows, but not in areas where regular grazing or mowing occurs. I bet if you check out the fencerows now, you'll find that there's already privet there. If that's the case, then my comment above already fits your case.

The septic box shouldn't be a problem if it's designed, built, and installed according to recent code. If you want to be sure, ask an experienced plumber. Your drainfield might be a different story but it shouldn't be near the house.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Fence rows not around here. All we have around us is pastured ground. Not many people do any planting since this is all farm land here. Traveling around I have not seen any privet at all. Everygreens like yew, cedar, boxwoods yes but no privet. Most are foundation plants that I have seen some a single plant in a yard. We are surrounded by woods an 3 sides and field on the 4th side. Would these become invasive in the woods around us if the birds dropped seed? I do not know how easily these propergate.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

VERY easily.

I bet we could find you some privet in your area if we came out and looked. ;-)

I don't think there's any reason to add more privet to the world. That's kinda like saying we've already got polluted air, so why worry about polluting it more??

Just Say No.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 7, 07 at 16:15

Well going with the air pollution analogy....

Do you drive a car if it's too far to walk/ride a bike, or do you "Just Say No" and stay at home? If you lived in the country and needed to burn a small brush pile, do you "Just Say No"?

Once again, I'm not necessarily recommending you plant the shrubs, but I am saying that you shouldn't worry too much if you do.

Privet grows best in full sun. They will do well in partial shade (especially around the edge of your woods), but they don't usually grow in full shade. One could at least say they would no longer by invasive in full shade.

Finally, I just have to ask....

How do you have pasture land without fence rows? What keeps the animals from leaving?


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Ah that type of fence rows. I was thinking hedge fence row. Nope there is no privet on them either. Well, I guess I shall just leave them planted. It looks like they cant do much harm where they are at since the woods are mostly deep shade. Anywhere else they pop up the animals or us can take care of I guess.

Thanks all.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Hey, I do my part. For instance, I drive my tiny car instead of my van whenever I don't need the cargo space -- and I haven't even had air conditioning in my house for about ten years now. And no, I don't think I would burn brush -- if I'm out in the country, surely I have enough room to make some critter habitat with that brush pile. So there.

Don't be mean to me, Brandon. I've been scoring some very cool succulents over the last few weeks, and if you're mean to me I may not share. ;-)


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RE: did I make a big mistake

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 7, 07 at 23:58

ROFL. I ain't being mean to you. I'm just trying to prevent needless worry.

Those two privets are the proverbial drop in the ocean in the large scheme of things. Every little drop counts, but no single drop is worth a lot of grief.

Well, I was gonna type out a hug for you, Amazindirt, but Gardenweb won't let me do it. It keeps changing it to parentheses. Just picture a hug in place of this paragraph.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

OTOH, if you're mean to me maybe I WILL share some of the variegated poke weed I just got. ROFL. Speaking of invasive!

I guess I don't have much excuse for harping about invasive plants. I'll have to stick with the excuse that the poke is native, I guess, but it certainly will spread about as annoyingly as privet. ;-)


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Do we know why the privet is curly leafed? A 'natural' variation or could it be a disease in the privet that causes the malformation of the leaves?


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RE: did I make a big mistake

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 07 at 14:53

Ligustrum japonicum 'Recurvifolium', Curly Leaf Privet, is a cultivar with naturally curly leaves. The curly leaves are not caused by a disease or virus.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

For big shrubs that can feed birds, try some old roses. Birds love the hips. Plus they smell wonderful. Pemberton/Hybrid Musk/Rugosa roses grow into huge bushes with little or no care. Many also do well in partial shade. I grew some under a row of mulberry trees (not planted by me!) at my house in Maryland. They were wonderful.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

I may need some correction here, but I do not believe japonicum is the root of our privet invasion. I think our culprit is the Chinese privet species; I have not observed the Japanese as an escapee (though I would not underestimate it). Akewa, two others you may want to avoid are eleagnus and mahonia. Both make nice ornamental evergreens and produce berries for birds; both are also widespread invasives here in the Knoxville area. I would side with brandon7 on this one and simply make a more conscious effort in the future. Might I suggest the Carolina laurelcherry for a future planting? Nice evergreen large shrub/small tree that is also good producer of small "cherries" (it is an actual member of the Prunus genus). It is also a southeastern native:) Another native that should be planted more is Sparkleberry, a semi-evergreen(I think, brandon7?) blueberry relative whose leaves turn a nice red in winter. Also a berry producer for wildlife; this one may be harder to find.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Ligustrum japonicum, Japanese Privet, is not as bad as Lingustrum sinese, Chinese Privet, or Lingusturm vulgare, Common or European Privet, but is still considered a rank 2 invasive by TN-EPPC, the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council. I have read that 'Recurvifolium' seemed to exhibit slightly less invasive potential as some other Japanese Privets. So overall, Ligustrum japonicum 'Recurvifolium' would probably be somewhere in the middle of the invasive-noninvasive spectrum. Good news (?) for akewa!

While some of the Elaeagnuses (umbellata, pungens, and to a much lesser degree angustifolia) are invasive, many are not. Also, many Elaeagnus have huge environmental benefits (nitrogen-fixing, wildlife food, etc, etc). Don't discount this wonderful genus!

Of the Mahonias, only Mahonia beali is listed as invasive here, and it's only a TN-EPPC rank 2.

Prunus caroliniana, Carolina Cherrylaurel, can get pretty big to plant beside one's house. They can commonly reach 30' x 30' with the national champion being 47' x 55'. While not on the TN-EPPC list (as Myrtleoak said, it's a native), Prunus caroliniana can become weedy. With our zone change, it may start to become more of a problem here. It is pretty widespread in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Vaccinium arboreum, Farkleberry or Sparkleberry, would be a nice landscape plant and is especially useful for dry shade (it also does well in full sun). My guess is that it would be evergreen in much of TN, especially in warmer locations (protected areas, warm microclimates, etc).

Here is a link that might be useful: TN-EPPC Invasive Exotic Plant List


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Carolina Laurelcherry: Observed a few escapees here and there in the Bearden area. Some in Sequoyah Hills are quite large!


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Well, that is good news that I good the less invasive one. I am not planting alot of shrubs just where I have then now at both ends of the house. If I remember right laurel is toxic to animals so I will not be having any of them around. I am usually pretty good on researching before buying but the privet was an impulse do to the amount of sun that wall gets. Thanks again everyone for all the good sugestions.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Brandon7, you bring up an interesting topic with your analysis of Eleagnus. One often finds varying degrees of ferver within the "invasive debate". There are the purists that want everyting not native to TN prior to 1700 (or something) eradicated. This is, in fact, quite ridiculous. First, it has been exhibited that plants can naturally change their ranges, sometimes very quickly, depending on climatic conditions amd even animal dispersers. It is also well-known to anthropologists that Native American groups moved many species to new areas prior to the Europeans. I tend to take a more moderate approach. News flash: privet is here to stay. Rather than wide-scale removal of invasives, one should practice future discretion in the planting of exotics. If the species begins to display invasive qualities, stop planting it. I also have little problem with regional natives that may have not originally been native to TN specifically. It has been observed that the loblolly pine has been moving north for a long time; it was only matter of time before it reached many areas of TN. Certain species have been observed as on the decline for a very long time. The climate IS warming, we just don't know how much we have sped it up. End rant;)


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RE: did I make a big mistake

My daughter was sick of all the weeds around her shrubs so she put a heavy duty plastic around every shrub . I told her the water will not get to the roots and her shrubs may die. The plastic is not the weed barrier that you normally put around your shrubs. Should she remove the plastic? Martha 12


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RE: did I make a big mistake

Martha12,
I don't know how your post got added to this thread. It seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic. However, you are correct, plastic is a poor choice for weed prevention for a number of reasons. If you wish to discuss it more, I would strongly recommend you start your own thread, or at least find a thread related to the topic, to post to. Starting your own thread will allow you to get email notifications of responses and will allow you to shape the topic to the specifics of your situation.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

I have to Privets in my fence row in the shade and I enjoy them but I would not have them in my yard. Mine are not invasive where they are.


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RE: did I make a big mistake

"I have to Privets in my fence row in the shade and I enjoy them but I would not have them in my yard. Mine are not invasive where they are."

Are you sure you understand the term invasive??? If so, are your privets enclosed in a giant glass dome or something?


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