Native to central and southern Europe and northern Africa, the genus includes 45 species of shrubs and small evergreen or deciduous trees used to form hedges.
Spontaneous in Italy, it is an evergreen shrub from two to five meters high, often cultivated as a hedge. Privet is a genus of small shrubs or trees of the oleaceae family. They originate mainly from Asia, but also from Europe, North Africa and Australia. The leaves can be deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen depending on the species. They are used very commonly to create formal hedges. Across Europe is spread spontaneously privet common (vulgare) which is indigenous. The name derives from the Latin ligare: it refers to the possibility of using its flexible branches for ligatures in different agricultural works. In general, the genus lucidum and japonicum can be found more commonly in gardens. Very interesting varieties of the lucidum are the excelsum superbum (whose leaves have a cream-colored variegated margin) and the tricolor (the young leaves have a delicate pink).
The leaves of the privet they are opposite, simple, ovate lanceolate, glabrous and shiny. These are very leathery and persistent leaves in most varieties of this plant.
Description of the privet
We will generally speak of ligustrum lucidum as it is the most widespread in our gardens. It is, as we have said, a shrub or small tree.
|Family and gender||Fam. Oleaceae, gen. Ligustrum which has about 50 species|
|Type of plant||Shrub or sapling|
|Foliage||Evergreen, semi-green or deciduous depending on the species|
|Height||From 50 cm to 5-6 meters on average (if kept in a tree)|
Usually it reaches a maximum of 5-6 meters in cultivation, even if it is spontaneous and can even reach 12 meters. In that case, it takes on a wide column shape as a tree. It has ovate leaves, up to 10 cm long and 5 wide, tapered to the apex, with a thin tip and not toothed. When young, they have a reddish color and then become dark green and shiny on the upper side and opaque and lighter on the lower one. The bark is smooth and gray. From summer to autumn (it has a rather long flowering period and this is why it is preferred in the gardens), it has panicles up to 20 cm long, of creamy-white perfumed flowers. From these then develop black berries with a diameter of about 1 cm. Special care must be taken (especially in the presence of children and animals) because they are poisonous. It originates from China (but we also spontaneously developed it), particularly in hilly and mountainous areas.
small and fragrant, ivory white, hermaphroditic, arranged in terminal and erect ovate panicles. They bloom from April to June followed by small, globular berries with oily pulp, first green and with black ripeness.
Privet plants need a sunny or partially shaded exposure. The exposed and illuminated garden corners and the most aerial areas are ideal.
In terms of temperature the privet is not a plant that has problems. Overall, it tolerates winter cold and some short periods of frost without problems. Optimum vegeta with night temperatures above 12 ° C.
Privet watering must be regular throughout the year so that the soil is always moist.
As far as ligustrom fertilization is concerned, it is necessary to enrich the soil with manure every spring. At the beginning of the summer we fertilize with mature manure but do not overdo it. We can also use pellet or flour manure to spread on the ground.
in September October woody cuttings are taken and planted in a mixture of peat and sand. The rooted cuttings are transplanted in the following April.
The privet prefers fertile, fresh and possibly calcareous soils.
Diseases and pests
mining insects dig tunnels into the leaves that are covered with bluish spots.
The privet is mainly used for the construction of medium-height hedges (a few meters), usually formal. It is possible but also to grow it as a tree, since it is very decorative for the leaves and for the long flowering.
Whether you want to plant it as an isolated specimen or to make a hedge, it is advisable to plant the privet during vegetative rest, that is from autumn to early spring. Autumn, however, is certainly the period of choice because during the cold months rooting will be encouraged: the plant will therefore grow even more during the first vintage. It is good to choose a day that is not rainy and not too cold (the ground must not be snowy or ice cream). The privets endure all types of soil. If you want to create a point of interest with different privet saplings it is good to distance them about 80 cm-1 meter from each other. If instead you want to make a hedge the ideal distance is 60 cm. Usually these plants are sold in pots or only with earth bread. If this is too dry and compact, it is better to put it in water for a few minutes so that it can be better released from the container or fabric in which it is wrapped. If the roots on the bottom are too compact and have formed a rather thick layer, it is better to cut them and slightly open the earthen bread.
Make a deep and 60 cm wide hole. In the case of a hedge we can also dig all along a line. On the bottom we can put some organic soil improver (manure, cornunghia) and cover with a layer of earth. After that we can insert the plant (so that the collar is slightly below the ground level) and close the hole. If the earth were not of good quality (too sandy or stony) we can intervene by changing it. Press the area around the shrub with your feet to avoid damaging air bubbles and create a small bump of earth around the neck of the privet. This (together with good mulching material such as straw, leaves, wood chips or dried fruit shells) will help the roots to not feel too cold and therefore overcome the first winter well.
Finally it will be necessary to water abundantly, even if the earth was already damp. This will help settle the soil and hydrate the roots again. It is advisable to insert a guardian by planting it as deep as possible and securing the plant in several places.
The privet is a strong and undemanding plant. Some species even grow well in the sand and in the presence of salty winds. Most, however, appreciate regular irrigation to always have beautiful vegetation. He can only suffer in the summer. in that case the leaves will become greyish and tend to roll up. They can also be more easily victim of powdery mildew. In case of dry summers it is therefore good to irrigate abundantly, especially if the plants are young, at least once a week. In this way we will be able to enjoy their shiny leaves and decorative flowering even in this season.
Pruning and formation of privet hedges
The privet is the king of hedges because it bears very well the cut and its growth is very rapid. To keep a hedge young it is advisable to cut the older branches at the base to encourage the growth of new new branches. We can, however, also give some indications for the cutting of a recently planted hedge. You need to have pegs, ropes and hedge shears (or an electric hedge trimmer) available. If the hedge is very high, it is advisable to use a ladder or, better still, a scaffolding or trabatello. It is indeed important to be able to work at the same height as the cutting level. In this way a straight, precise and uniform cut will be obtained. It is also advisable to go down several times to check the level of the cut.
We must start by planting pegs at each end of the hedge, at the level of the vertical cut. It is also necessary to place some intermediates every 4-5 meters. A rope must then be stretched to the height of the cut so that it is as straight as possible. With the shears or the hedge trimmer always start cutting the top of the hedge, always freeing yourself of the cut branches because the visibility is perfect. The sides must then be cut. To respect the verticality it is also possible to stretch further ropes between the pickets at different heights. Cut starting from the bottom and moving towards the top. In this way the cut branches will fall without getting caught in the underlying ones. If the branches were too big to be cut by the shears or the hedge trimmer you can intervene with a branch cutter or a chainsaw.
The privet is a shrub in general, evergreen. It is therefore advisable to intervene often so that it is continuously stimulated to produce new branches and leaves. Those produced in autumn will remain very beautiful for the duration of the cold season.
Pests and diseases
It is a very robust plant, but can sometimes be affected by problems of various kinds. Some attention and some changes will be a sufficient remedy.
One of the most common problems is powdery mildew. It usually affects plants placed in areas that are too shaded, with branches that are too compact or in poorly ventilated areas.
First of all it would be better to intervene by pruning so that the air can circulate better inside the plant. If it is not enough, specific products can be used against powdery mildew. A fairly common enemy is also the oziorrinco. Its presence is highlighted by leaves cut off at the edges. The larvae feed on the roots and the plant consequently becomes increasingly weaker. We must use specific products that eliminate above all the larvae.
Another enemy may be excessive cold. This can cause the leaves to fall even in varieties that should be evergreen. More often, however, it happens that only the tips of the branches froze. Usually with the arrival of spring everything comes back in place and a good pruning should be enough to eliminate the most damaged parts.
The apical cutting is the simplest method for multiplication of the privet.
First of all you have to take some apical twigs that have passed on the plant the month of August (semi-woody). The color of the branch should no longer be green, but close to brown. They must be more or less 15 cm long. We must make a clean cut at the base, freeing it from the leaves, leaving at the most a maximum of 4. The two lower ones will have to be cut in half to limit the loss of liquids. At this point the point of the cut must be immersed in a rooting liquid or powder. If it is a dust then it is important to eliminate the excess. Prepare a box with a substrate composed of equal parts of river sand and peat (the ideal would also be to add agriperlite). Wet the soil in depth. Make holes with a pencil and insert the cuttings at a distance of about 5 cm. Place the cassette in a sheltered area and cover it with clear plastic. Remember to discover it from time to time to change the air and moisten the substrate again. In spring they should have rooted. They can then be moved into individual jars. Usually the following year they are ready to be planted in the ground.
Privet: Ideal as a hedge
The Ligustro with oval leaves is part of the most widespread category of hedge plants at our latitudes. It can occur in various ways: as a shrub or small tree, but nevertheless it can never exceed four meters in height. As a hedge plant, it is ideal, presenting with well erected stems and oval leaves, shiny, dense and of a bright green color. In late spring and early summer, it is also possible for small, ivory-white and very fragrant flowers to bloom.
Also for this reason, it appears as a simple solution, but very elegant and refined to separate or divide external spaces: its conformation is perfectly suited to create green lines and thick natural barriers very resistant even in the autumn season or low temperatures
Privet is one of the most common evergreen species for hedge creation. Plant of Japanese origin, the ligustr
Hedges are widely used in gardening. Their function is to shield and shade spaces eg
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