Privet targeted in New England townships

Privet in flower
04th Jun 2019
Trent McIntyre

NEWA will be inspecting the Townships of the New England Region for privet in the coming weeks. The responsibility of landholders/occupiers is not to remove privet entirely but to keep it trimmed back and prevent the plant from flowering and fruiting. As this is an ongoing task, a better long term strategy is to remove it and replace it with a more desirable species, and there are many alternatives. Privet can be controlled by cutting the plant and painting the freshly cut surface with herbicide such as glyphosate (e.g. roundup). This is best done whilst the plant is actively growing.

Privet is originally from China and Europe and was introduced to Australia by early settlers as a hedging plant for shade and windbreaks. There are 2 main varieties of Privet found on the Northern Tablelands – Broad Leaf Privet, Narrow Leaf.

Broadleaf Privet is an evergreen shrub or small tree to a height of 4–10metres. Their leaf is 4–13 cm long with the upper surface dark green and glossy while the undersurface is paler with distinct veins. NarrowLeaf Privet is a densely branched, multistemmed shrub 3–5 m tall. Leaves are ovalshaped, occur in opposite pairs and are 1–7 cm long. Leaf tips may be pointed or round. The undersurface of each leaf is covered in fine hairs (including the midribs) and both leaf surfaces are mid to dull green.

The New England Weeds Authority receives many complaints from people suffering from allergies triggered by the Privet pollen. Privet flowers in late spring – summer, with pollen being released in December and January. The fruit are small, blueblack berries that appear after flowering and are feasted upon by many bird species which distribute the seed throughout the area. The seeds germinate easily in protected environments, such as backyards and along fence lines, particularly between fences and walls of structures.

Follow up inspections will occur in the following months to ensure treatment has been initiated. If control has not been carried out enforcement measures will be considered to ensure compliance under the Biosecurity Act, 2015.

For help with weed identification and control measures check out the NSW DPI Privet factsheet or  contact NEWA on 6770 3602 or call into our office at 2/129 Rusden St Armidale.

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