Remove privet to improve kiwifruit pollination
17 November 2016
Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), also known as hedge privet, is now beginning to flower prolifically. It is another invasive weed often found in orchard shelter belts, or any neglected corner of the property. Bees will be attracted to the scented privet in preference to Hayward kiwifruit flowers, so remove privet now to improve kiwifruit pollination! Privet seed is spread by birds feeding on the high number of small, black fruits in autumn and winter. Privet has a high germination rate and establishes as an innocuous plant hidden within shelter belts or orchard margins. It is now easily identified while flowering. Any orchard managers, contractors or staff who suffer allergies or asthma triggered by privet, should not handle the plant. Privet control, especially during flowering, must be undertaken by people whose health is not adversely affected. Contact your doctor or the Poisons Centre for advice about privet allergies. Poisons Centre information can be found at www.poisons.co.nz Control privet by cutting off at stump level (i.e. no higher than ankle height) and applying one part Glyphosate to five parts water to the top and sides of the cut stump. Chainsaw cuts around the base of the stump can assist herbicide penetration. Organic properties can remove mature privet shrubs with a tractor and snig chain, or dig the entire plant from the ground. Privet stumps will regrow if not entirely removed or killed with herbicide. Better practice still, is to remove privet while at the seedling stage – so learn how to identify seedling Chinese privet and pull seedlings out while undertaking shelter belt maintenance. As always, follow all health and safety requirements when operating machinery, tools or handling plants like privet which may aggravate asthma or allergies.