Residents are being encouraged to help stem the spread of Privet, a serious environmental weed throughout Australia and a plant that affects human health, by reporting sightings to Orange City Council.
The widespread weed is in flower at this time of the year and is, therefore, easy to recognise.
Privet is identified as a priority weed under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 due to its negative impacts on agriculture, native ecosystems and human health.
The dense, evergreen shrub, which can grow up to six metres in height and width if left unchecked, was commonly used as a boundary hedge plant in the past and many of these examples still exist in the older, more established residential areas of Orange.
Readily recognisable by the shiny evergreen green elliptic leaves, cream-coloured blossoms and purple fruit, privet is found in many urban gardens.
While landowners are not required to remove these hedges from their properties, they must keep them trimmed to prevent them from flowering or fruiting.
Removal of individual bushes and small trees from residential and commercial properties within the Orange City Council area is highly encouraged to reduce the impacts on human health within our community. Green waste can be disposed of at the Resource Recovery Centre free of charge.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd says, left unattended, the weed can spread quickly, which is why there are still pockets of privet and isolated plants found around the city.
“If left to flower and fruit, mature plants can produce thousands of seeds, which are then spread far and wide by birds and other animals that eat them,” he said.
“It can invade native forests, woodlands, orchards, plantation forests, gardens and waterways.
“Both the fruit and the leaves are mildly toxic to humans and livestock and its strong perfume is capable of triggering allergic reactions, hay fever, asthma and respiratory problems.”
Council staff have begun inspecting properties where privet is present, and speaking to landowners about its control and removal.