Q. I have a narrow area and the local Vegas nurseries have Japanese privet However, I have read on various blogs that birds eat the berries and they get dropped in other areas of the yard and gardens, sprouting up all over. They say it is considered an invasive species in many areas. Have you found this problem to be true and if so, is there anything that can be done so that the plant will not produce berries?
A. I have not heard this to be true in desert landscapes. We can control most growth by controlling water. Where water is applied to desert landscapes, these are the places where weeds and other unwanted plants will grow. There are many invasive species in California and Florida that are not invasive in home landscapes in our desert for this reason.
|Leaves of Japanese privet under stress. Notice the curling, lack of density of the foliage and off color appearance.|
However, invasive species can be a problem in persistent or perennial waterways such as the Colorado River basin, washes like the Las Vegas Wash and irrigation ditches. So you do have to be careful with invasive species but in the middle of the desert with no such waterways it is not usually a problem.
During the establishment period you would want to push stem growth as quickly as possible with deep irrigations and light fertilizer applications about four times a year. Pruning should be done about monthly during establishment and to keep the trellis looking neat and trim.