Privet – Responsible Growth

Q: I am thinking about surrendering in the battle for privet control along my fence. It’s an ugly chain-link thing that I would love to hide. But I’m concerned about birds eating privet berries and spreading it to surrounding woods. Is there a responsible way to let this invasive plant grow on the fence?

A: I think if you waited until after the flowers come in late spring you’d be able to see the green seeds before they develop into copious gray nuggets of bird food during summer. You could prune the seeds into a bucket and destroy them. This shouldn’t be hard to do if your fence is not too long. If you enjoy the fragrance of privet, as I do, despite its invasive nature, you’d have a cover for your fence without the guilt that comes from harboring an invasive plant.