Privet species have been used in formal hedging since Elizabethan times. The foliage and flowers are often used in arrangements. Cuttings are often used to create bonsai trees. As with all parts of the plant, the berries are toxic to humans if consumed but provide a food source for birds. Chinese privet is used in herbal medicines. In the US and Australia, privets are invasive species.
Culture for Privet
Requires full sun or partial shade and well drained soil. L. ovalifolium will tolerate clay soils but drainage is still key. Most remain as small shrubs of under 4m height and spread, reaching this in around 20 years. However, some species (e.g., L. lucidum) can grow into a large tree in 20 to 50 years.
Concerns about Privet
Privets are susceptible to honey fungus, especially L. ovalifolium. Common insect pests are aphids, leaf miner moth larvae, scales, and thrips.
Management Practices for Privet
Monitor for canopy decline. Inspect the base of the base of the plant for peeling bark with mycelial fans/rhizomorphs beneath. If Honey Fungus is present on site, ensure plants are unstressed to reduce susceptibility, remove any sources of infection. Buried root collars should be excavated. Air spading and applications of Trichoderma mycorrhizae may help small infections and to reduce infection. Check for pest symptoms: Aphids: curling leaves and honeydew; Scale: adult scales and honeydew; Leaf miners: larvae feeding in galleries in leaves; Thrips : small speckles on leaf, not usually problematic. In any case of pest/disease, check for sources of abiotic stress that can be mitigated. A treatment plan of 3 to 4 sprays at regular intervals throughout the active growing season is recommended.