(Also known as Broad Leaf Privet)
Type of weed: Woody weed
Flower colour(s): White
A large shrub to small tree from 4 m to 10 m tall; robust, vigorous, evergreen, and fast growing.
Stems are covered in lenticels (white dots).
Large dark green leaves are oval up to 13 cm long and 5 cm wide, with a pointed tip. The lower leaf surface is paler.
Abundant small, white, and strongly scented tubular flowers are produced in clusters in late spring to summer.
Sprays of small round purple-black berries occur in summer and persist into winter.
Don’t confuse with…
In the lower Mountains, it can be confused with:
- Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii). The Lilly Pilly has oil glands in its leaves.
- Cheese Tree (Glochidion ferdinandi). The Cheese Tree fruit is a characteristically pumpkin shape or ‘edam’ cheese shape up to 20 mm in diameter, splitting when ripe to reveal bright red orange seeds.
One plant can produce up to a million seeds. Seed is spread by fruit-eating birds, and is also washed down waterways. The plant can also spread though layering.
Impact on bushland
The plant is usually found in moist, nutrient rich sites such as gullies where it grows thickly, shades out native plants and transforms the habitat into a weed plume.
Once the fast-growing seedlings establish, privet’s well developed matted, fibrous root systems deprive natives of nutrients and moisture.
The ability to block out light prevents germination of native seeds, and because privet lowers temperatures, privet plumes can result in the death of some established eucalypts.
- Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatis)
- Lillypilly (Acmena smithii)
- Black Wattle (Callicoma serratifolia)
- Grey Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia)
Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.
Fried Egg Plant (Franklinia axillaris syn.Gordonia).
- Hand remove
- Remove flowers, fruit, pods or seeds
- Stem inject or frill
- Cut and paint
Grasp stem at ground level. Rock weed backwards and forwards to loosen roots, then pull out gently. Carefully tap the roots to dislodge attached soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down.
- Leave weeds so that roots do not make contact with soil; on a rock, for instance. A small amount of debris may be hung in a tree or removed from the site.
- Vary the position of your body to avoid fatigue when removing plants by hand over extended periods.
Remove seeds, pods or fruit
Gently remove any seeds, pods or fruit and carefully place in a bag.
Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate, Triclopyr.
Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.
Stem injection or frilling
At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch
As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.
Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)
Cut and paint
Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.
Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.
Specific control tips for this weed
- Seedlings can be hand pulled if all the root can be removed. Use a trowel to loosen the soil first.
- Seedling beds can be sprayed with a selective herbicide. Prepare around native plants first to protect them before spraying.
- More established plants will need to be cut and painted using herbicide.
- Larger plants can be stem injected.
Because the berries are bird spread, it is best to treat plants before they fruit. Otherwise, bag the berries and if possible dispose of in a hot compost to kill the seeds. Other cut parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the soil. Once material is dead it will break down where suspended, or can be removed and composted.
When planning a staged removal of an area of privets on a creek bank or slope, the main stem can be cut approximately 1 m above the soil, but not treated with poison. This keeps the roots alive, stabilising the soil and preventing further seed production. A lower cut will encourage multi-stem growth. Once native vegetation has established itself, the privet stems can be treated as above.
See the NSW Department of Primary Industries WeedWise website for more information.
For key points on these techniques:
Local Priority Weed
- The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.