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bush (amur) honeysuckle - chop & drop?

Dave Aiken

Joined: Mar 21, 2012
Posts: 26
I have a wooded property that is being over-taken with bush (amur) honeysuckle. In fact, it is choking out the wild raspberries, black berries, and elderberries. I'd like to eliminate it and was told by a DNR forester that I'd have to apply Roundup after cutting it back. He said that chopping and dropping would result in more agressive regrowth and would be a never ending cycle of work and frustration. Is he correct? I have read from other sources that it does regrow and even comes back "with gusto" after cutting it back. My hope is that after doing this annually (or even semi-annually) for 3-4 years, it would eventually succumb. Meanwhile, the chop and drop action will have improved my soil and made conditions more favorable for the desirable shrubs that are present but currently overwhelmed by the honeysuckle.

Any thoughts are appreciated, especially if you've dealt with this species on your property.

tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
I'm not at all familiar with the plant in question, so keep that in mind before taking my advice.

if you do end up cutting it down, I would recommend doing it during the growing season. that certainly won't guarantee that it won't grow back, but it will take considerably more resources away from the plant than it would if you were to cut during the dormant season when all the sap is in the roots. if you're fastidious, you'll kill it eventually. you might have to cut regrowth every couple of weeks, though.

you might also consider critters to browse it. goats fenced into the area in question would keep the plants defoliated until they were dead. turn your weed problem into milk, cheese, meat, and manure. the faster the stuff grows back, the more food the goats get and the more food you get. could take a couple of years to get rid of it all, and you can't count on the goats to stick to just the honeysuckle, so it's sort of a "nuclear option."

I would guess that the woody parts would then make decent firewood for a rocket stove or mass heater.

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tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
and could you tell us a little bit more about your location, Dave? should help folks give you more geographically specific advice for this question and any others you've got in the future.
Michael Radelut

Joined: Jan 21, 2011
Posts: 195
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
Unlike many other pioneer plants it seems to be quite sensitive to compaction and being restricted by pavement/stone/etc.,
and I guess your property is too big to cover every plant with a tarp.

One way to do this might be to cut them down to the stumps, and then inject the RoundDown into those.
And definitely do it in the growing season, so that the poison is quickly dispersed.
Dave Aiken

Joined: Mar 21, 2012
Posts: 26
I'm in central Iowa, USDA zone 5. The forested did say to brush roundup on freshly cut stumps vs. foliar application. I don't live on the property yet and don't want to loose other shrubs, so I'm not sure livestock is an option at this point.

Thanks for so many quick responses.
Lori Crouch

Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
I believe honeysuckle is a bit like trumpet vine to kill. You may have to be a bit careful with this method depending on how close the base is to your berry plants.

Cut the honeysuckle down the the base right against the ground. Boil water with a bit of vinegar in it. Pour the boiling water on the stump/roots. Make sure to drench it. Repeat every other day for about a week or two and any time you see a sprout. This will kill it within a year.

As far as the branches are concerned: they are right it will re-sprout as it's very opportunistic. If you don't have a way to get it off property, then you could contain it on plastic sheeting or plywood (anything you have laying around). Let it fully die; a year would be best. Then you could compost it for another length of time. If you see any sprouts during that time period by all means do NOT place it back into your plant areas. I've never stayed anywhere a very long time, so I'm not sure what happens to it after the one year period. I let mine sit for that time and it looked pretty dead. Maybe someone else has experience with composting the dead matter and seeing if it starts to come back, or if it's truly dead.
Good luck!
subject: bush (amur) honeysuckle - chop & drop?
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