The ligustrum is a genus of shrubby plants belonging to the Oleacee family. Shrubs vary in size depending on the species from a few centimeters up to 5 meters high. They have a greenish bark with a smooth surface, the inflorescences are cob-shaped and collect white flowers. The fruits are represented by black poisonous berries, with a shiny surface. From the berries, treatment with boiling distilled water produces a chemical indicator, ligulin, which is used to identify acid and basic environments. Most of the plants that are grown for hedges are from Japan or China. In Europe the Ligustrum vulgare grows spontaneously, while other species were introduced later.
The species of this type of plant most cultivated is Ligustrum lucidum, a shrub that can reach 6 meters in height. The plant has long ovate leaves, tapered at the apex, with a reddish color, with maturation they become dark green and shiny on the upper side and opaque and slightly lighter on the lower one. From early summer to autumn it shows long white-cream inflorescences that produce poisonous berries with a black color in autumn. The best exposure for this plant is a sunny area or in partial shade, it can tolerate the cold quite well, but it must have an adequate watering throughout the year to be able to keep the soil moist. In spring it would be appropriate to enrich the soil with a fertilizer.
The ideal soil for privet cultivation should be fertile, fresh and with calcareous characteristics. The planting of this plant should be done during the vegetative rest, in the autumn period, so that in winter rooting is favored. The optimal distance between the plants for making a hedge should be about 60 cm which becomes a meter in the case of a non-continuous row. The bottom of the hole should be sprinkled with organic fertilizer (preferably manure or cornunghia). Check that the cultivation soil is not rich in sand or gravel. The operations must be carried out in autumn, so to protect the roots it would be advisable to cover the ground with mulching material such as straw, leaves, wood shavings or dried fruit shells.
Privet: Pruning of the privet
Once the planting is completed, the soil should be abundantly watered, even if already damp, so that it settles and the roots can be hydrated. The privet bears pruning well, which is why it is used for hedges. To keep the plant young it would be advisable to cut the older branches, in this way it would favor the growth of the new branches. In case you want to make an optimal hedge, for pruning it would be essential to plant pegs at the ends and then every 4-5 meters spreading a rope on the top that is positioned at the height of the cut, in this way you will get a perfect cut and straight. This shrub is an evergreen plant so it is advisable to prune often, in order to stimulate it to produce new branches and leaves.