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Mr. Smarty Plants - Disposal of non-native chinaberry and ligustrum and their seeds

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Wednesday - October 06, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Disposal of non-native chinaberry and ligustrum and their seeds
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

I've got some chinaberry and ligustrum in a section of our lot that I am going to remove to make room for native plants. Both have berries, & I was wondering if running them through a chipper will have the effect of spreading the seeds, causing future problems.

ANSWER:

Both chinaberry (Melia azaderach) & privet (Ligustrum sp.) are introduced species with invasive tendencies, placed on invasive plant lists by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council & the SE Exotic Pest Plant Council. They are quite successful regarding distribution primarily because of the seed (i.e. size & number of seed). Running the seeds through a chipper is not likely to destroy all, or even most, of the seed. This is especially true of the smaller Ligustrum seed. It will be a bit more work, but since both plants exhibit their seed in clusters, you could remove the clusters after you have cut down the trees before you put them through the chipper. This would minimize the number of berries in the chipped material. You can then dispose of the seeds so that they will not have the chance to germinate in your garden. You could also compost the chipped material, but may have to hand weed any propagules that survive a composting process. The other alternative is to collect all the chipped material and dispose of it without spreading it on your garden.
 

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