Privet - Ligustrum vulgare

General Description

Privet is a deciduous, stout, many-branched shrub reaching heights of up to 15 feet. It is capable of forming dense thickets that crowd out native plants. Privet can invade a variety of habitats including wetlands, forests, fields, and flood plains.


This shrub has oval to elliptical leaves arranged in pairs along the stem. Clusters of small, white flowers grow at the ends of branches and blue-black berries are produced in late summer to early fall.


Privet was introduced to this country in the early 1700s from Europe as a garden plant and is widely used as a hedge.

How It Spreads

Birds and other wildlife eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. Privet can also grow from cut or broken stumps.

Control Methods
Small plants may be successfully dug out from May through October, if all the roots are removed. Chemical treatment should be conducted from mid-April through October. Cut larger plants down and paint the stumps with glyphosate. Shrubs less than 4 feet tall can be sprayed intact with a 2% solution of gylphosate.

Last updated: January 10, 2017

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