Diary of the Glossy Privet's Grim Reaper

Several years ago, I took on the task of eradicating Ligustrum lucidum, also called glossy privet, and other invasive plants rom Austin's Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. The idea that we could eradicate them is ambitiously optimistic, but I have a feeling we will do far better than just to manage them. Besides, with that goal in mind, I am inspired to keep trying new twists on my techniques for reducing their numbers.

In this series of posts, I plan to share my observations of the impact of glossy privet on the plant communities in this park and the results—successful and otherwise—of our attempts to bring them under control. Follow me and you will find facts worth discussing, with details to back them up:

  • Glossy privet is so beautiful every spring, and it's a bulletproof evergreen. What makes it the most perniciously invasive woody plant in Central Texas?
  • Not all tree extractors are alike—and it isn't just the trade name that makes the difference. When you put them in the hands of volunteers, which ones work best? Why?
  • How does girdling work? If you have tried and failed, I can show you the way to succeed—and it's probably easier than whatever you've done before.
  • Nature abhors a vacuum. If we can get rid of the ligustrum, what will we put in its place?
  • What other invasive plants are making inroads in the park—and how can we show them the way out?

One thing you won't hear me discuss is herbicide. At least three friends of mine have died from cancers linked to herbicides. It's better for us and our planet if we don't use them. And even if that weren't my position, I would still have to figure out how to get the job done without them. In Austin's parks, greenbelts, and preserves, volunteers are not allowed to use power tools or herbicides.

As a teaser, the photo associated with this post shows 55 glossy privets uprooted in 90 minutes by one of my volunteers last weekend. In the background, you can see larger glossy privets that we girdled in the same project. In my posts, I'll follow this and other areas as the ligustrums decline and the new habitat emerges.

And your comments will always be welcome.

Publicado el martes, 18 de junio de 2019 a las 03:39 MAÑANA por baldeagle baldeagle


Fotos / Sonidos


Ligustro Disciplinado (Ligustrum lucidum)




Junio 16, 2019 a las 11:06 MAÑANA CDT


Looking better than ever! 😏 The pile on the ground is 55 plants whose root systems we inspected.



Good on you, Cliff. We are following your progress and methods out here on Town Creek and the LBJ National Historical Park and can attest to your techniques with our own observable results - positive ones from our perspective. We just noticed this week that many of the Chinese Tallow trees we've girdled and now giving up their leaves in the upper portions of their branches. We anticipate more 'die off' in the trees and will let you know of our progress. Ditto with the Ligustrum we've girdled, although we do intend to follow your suggestion and make our girdling more use friendly than the procedure we followed so far. I anticipate a good outcome her, though, as well. Keep us informed and thanks for your lead and expertise.

Publicado por billarbon hace más de 4 años

You’re kind to say so, Bill. Keep me posted on your results with Chinese tallow. In my one experience with girdling that species, the 40-ish-foot-tall tree, which approached a foot in diameter at breast height, died in about a year in spite of its having put out sprouts from below the girdle. It seems to be the case that if the girdling is complete—that is, if a complete ring of tissue down to and including the cambium is removed—then sprouts from below the girdle will not thrive, nor will they keep the tree from dying. Chinaberries seem to be an exception to this rule; I’m experimenting with various approaches to see if we can easily quell their resilience.

Publicado por baldeagle hace más de 4 años

I used a tin can on a Chinaberry I had cut (four inches in diameter) and kept it in place. The tree died. Also, a huge Chinaberry in our yard was also cut down and we covered the stump with a black garbage bag. It also died (with a little help by cutting off any growing sprout down below the living tissues. Shade needs to be employed more often and on the About page of River Cane, there is a reference to the successful use of shade to kill that species of grass, the grass everyone loves to hate;-)

"Also preventing it from getting sunlight will deplete the plant of its resources and eventually kill it (Mackenzie 2004). "


I think we're all learning a lot -both separately, and together -about controlling some of these species. Communication -and sharing information- is the key.

Publicado por billarbon hace más de 4 años

Very interesting, thanks for your detailed descriptions (as comments on my oberservations) of girdling, and I look forward to following this Journal, a place to aggregate your experiences and, as billarbon says, share the info.

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace alrededor de 4 años

@neilhendersongennz Useful experiences here about shade, and about tin cans....they biodegrade a lot faster than plastic...

Publicado por kaipatiki_naturew... hace alrededor de 4 años

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Vida Silvestre es una entidad asociada a la Organización Mundial de Conservación