The Target weed: Broadleaf privet
Published on 26 April 2023
Target weed: Broadleaf privet (Ligustrum lucidum)
Broadleaf privet (Ligustrum lucidum), also known as broadleaf privet, glossy privet, large-leaf privet, and other common names, is one of the most common and problematic weeds in Maroondah.
This species of privet is a fast-growing shrub or small tree (to 10m) that produces dense foliage, is highly invasive in moist habitats and capable of establishing in very low light conditions.
Its leaves are relatively large, dark green, glossy and oppositely arranged. It produces small white flowers during spring and summer, and clusters of blue-black berry-like fruit in autumn and winter.
Broadleaf privet reproduces by seed, which are dispersed by birds, water and in dumped garden waste. Large trees have been reported to be capable of producing more than a million seeds a year.
Why is it a problem?
As seeds of the species can germinate in shady areas under trees, it can establish in healthy undisturbed natural ecosystems. Increased nutrient levels often contribute to the presence of privet infestations.
Broadleaf privet is capable of out-competing native vegetation for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients, to become the dominant species, even forming monospecific stands. This in turn prevents regeneration of naturally occurring species, leading to a reduction of indigenous plants and the animals and insects that depend on them for food and shelter.
The masses of fruit Broadleaf privet provides supports increased populations of aggressive bird species, consequently affecting other native birds. The food and potential shelter supplied by this small tree is not reported to be important for a desirable species.
Now is the best time to control Broadleaf privet, before it sets seed. It’s also a good idea to remove any seedlings throughout the year as they appear in your garden.
Small plants can be removed by hand, while the larger shrubs and trees can be controlled using the cut and paint and drill and frill/stem injection techniques. Wearing protective clothing and gloves is recommended, and herbicide is most effective when the plant is actively growing (not under heat or moisture stress). Burning is generally ineffective against privet. Privet can regenerate vigorously from root and stem suckers, so follow-up control is often necessary
A permit for tree removal may be required to remove this plant.
Read more about this invasive plant