Punching Out Privet

TUPELO, MS: Removal of the non-native privet (Ligustrum) plantspecies in high-priority areas along the Parkway is in full swing this month. “Non-native plants live outside their original distributional range. As a result, non-native species tend to take over an area and out-compete native species,” said Natural Resource Specialist Deanna Boensch. “Once privet is fully established, little else can grow, and it reduces habitat quality for animals that depend on a diversity of plants for food or cover.”

Visitors can expect to see evidence of contractors cutting, spraying, and chipping privet along the road, trails, and pullouts from milepost 260-407. Multiple treatments are needed to control privet, and the current effort will include follow-up treatments to keep it in check. In addition to cutting and spraying, use of prescribed fire is another important tool used by Parkway fire managers to help control privet.

“As you drive or hike along the Parkway in these privet control areas, such as near the Blackland Prairie section trailhead of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, visitors can see the difference before versus after,” said Superintendent Mary Risser.

“Although there is more non-native privet than can be completely controlled, the Parkway focuses treatment on areas with high ecological, cultural, or scenic value. This year, the Parkway will treat approximately 200 acres of privet.”

For additional information about this project and the Parkway, please call (800) 305-7417.   

Forest edge before.
Forest edge after. Note the openness of the forest after privet was removed.

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