What is this tree?

Asked March 8, 2016, 5:00 PM EST

Clearing away some tree limbs we had cut last September and found this underneath. Curious if it is friend or foe. Not sure of the type of tree. Previous home owners seemed to have cut it down and these are growing off the side of the stumps.

Pitt County North Carolina

1 Response

This appears to be a chinese privet, a large shrub that can grow to about 10-12 feet tall and spreads wider than that. It is generally considered to be invasive, because it grows from suckers and birds spread the seed by eating berries. It often grows in wooded areas and under larger trees where birds nest or rest. It has white flowers in spring and blue berries in fall, but has little to no ornamental value. You can try to cut it back and dig it out, but it eventually will come back. More than likely you'll need to use herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup) or triclopyr to control it. A good strategy for this type of plant is to cut it back to the ground and then immediately put Roundup on to the freshly cut stump. Use a paint brush to brush the chemical onto the stump rather than spraying.