How to Control Privet


Privet is a deciduous perennial shrub that retains its leaves throughout winter and drops them before spring begins. Varieties include Amur, Chinese and Japanese. It has white blossoms, which appear in June through July, that give way to black berries. It is through the berry seeds that the privet is spread. At maturity, privet can reach 16 feet, and in landscape design, it is used as a wind break or screen. It can be controlled with chemicals and regular pruning, weeding and mowing.

Step 1

Follow a regular pruning program to control privet in your landscape design. Begin pruning as soon as the privet shows signs of growing outside your desired parameters.

Step 2

Prune the privet with an electric hedge trimmer or a manual hedge trimmer. (For safety reasons, use a manual hedge trimmer when cutting a high hedge.) Trim the top and the sides of the hedge. This can be done every eight weeks during the growing season.

Step 3

Dig out any new privet seedlings with your garden weed fork as soon as you see them. They will be easier to remove after it rains, when the soil is loosened. Be sure to get the entire plant out, root and all, or it will continue to grow.

Step 4

Mow down small areas of new seedlings. The privet will not be eradicated, but it will help keep it at bay.

Step 5

Apply Roundup weed and grass killer, following the manufacturer's directions. According to Cornell University, Roundup contains glyphosate. And, according to the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council's Exotic Plant Manual, glyphosate can be used to eradicate privet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be extremely careful when using electric hedge trimmers, and wear safety glasses.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric hedge trimmer
  • Manual hedge trimmer
  • Garden weed fork
  • Lawn mower
  • Roundup


  • Garden Space
  • Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council
  • Cornell University

Who Can Help

  • Privet Hedges
Keywords: control privet hedge, prune privet, controlling privet

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational columns "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in Oconee Today, a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies." "From Death to Living in the Light" and "Spiritual Intelligence" will be released by Ezop has a BA degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.