By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
Shortly after I introduced you to privet and all of its repulsive qualities, AL.com echoed my thoughts. On September 17, an article was released on AL.com that really let everyone know just how serious it can be when an invasive species gets out of control. Thanks to Nancy Loewenstein, a former professor of mine at Auburn University, foresters and landowners have a better wealth of knowledge when it comes to privet. Here are the highlights!
23 million. That is the number of acres that are covered by forests in Alabama. 1 million. That is the number of acres that is covered by PRIVET in Alabama. That is unbelievable. Of all the beautiful, native vegetation that grows in Alabama, one million acres of it are choked down and outcompeted by one of the most undesirable invasive species. And it gets worse. Mrs. Loewenstein goes onto say that privet can remain dormant for many years and then BAM; it suddenly begins to grow when the native vegetation is disturbed. As I said before, invasive species are deadly to other native vegetation because they limit the growth of these plants, and ultimately suffocates them by forming thick, dense stands. On top of choking out native vegetation, it is also believed that privet is having a huge effect on bees native to Alabama. According to Mrs. Loewenstein, native bee populations thrive when privet is removed from a certain area. And not only bees; a variety of pollinators tend to flourish when privet is removed from their native habitat. As previously mentioned, it takes more than just one method of eradication to correctly remove the invasive species. If you just cut one above the stump, it can grow like a gray hair and produce ten more trees from that one stump. So it is best to use every method feasible to remove this species. Privet is here to stay unless mechanical and chemical efforts are taken!
It is safe to say that Alabama is eaten up with Privet and it is time to take charge as stewards of the outdoors. Please visit AL.com and read this article in its entirety. Mrs. Loewenstein is well versed in anything and everything that applies to Alabama’s forest and forest health, so I would take her advice to heart!
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