Over the last two weekends, I spent over 8 hours extracting privet (I think it was privet) from two small gardens we have here. I think the total square footage that I cleared was about 200 square feet. And it took 8, yes eight, hours. Man, I hate privet. But I have real stubborn streak in me. It wasn't good enough to just cut it out. We did that last year and it came back very strong this year and took over very quickly. So I was going to rip it out by the roots.
Privet is an insidious plant. The roots spread out horizontally rather than vertically. The roots also generate more privet. So you end up with one very intertwined vegetative mess both above ground and below ground. And the "mother plant" is a, well, bitch. Again, I have a stubborn streak so I was not going to stop short. Good thing we have a Kawasaki Mule, and a long chain. So I was able to vanquish the evil green with the help of a mule and some red handled shovels. I expect the privet will attempt to re-establish itself every year for the next few years, but with some diligence on my part I should be able to keep it at bay with an hour or so of effort every year. Eventually, I will be able to extract all the remaining roots.
So, there are two things I hate about privet. First, the intertwined, spreading roots make it hard to plant anything else because they take up all the space. The second thing I hate about privet is that once it's in place it takes a lot of effort to make a change.
About 11 years ago, someone (a University professor, for whatever that means) once said about me "If there is any way in the world to connect A to Q, Neil will find it." I grew up in Chicago, where politics were always prominent. So, I'm gonna connect A (privet) to Q (politics).
The established plants/politicians were fouling up the garden and preventing us from making any improvements. It took a mule and some red handled shovels to break the stranglehold. It took a lot of effort to begin the change and will take continued diligence to make sure the privet doesn't take over again.