Invasive Spotlight: Amur Honeysuckle

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is native to eastern Asia and was introduced into North America in 1896. Planted originally for ornamental use, and later as a wildlife cover and for soil erosion control. North America soon learned just how detrimental this invasive species is. By squashing out native vegetation and changing soil chemistry, honeysuckle quickly becomes a nuisance for natural ecosystems. Where invasive honeysuckle grows, food sources for birds and other small mammals decrease and soon even tree saplings are unable to grow. Left unchecked, honeysuckle becomes a massive problem both ecologically and aesthetically.

Identification

Stems: Hollow with stringy tan bark.

Leaves: Opposite, simple, and ovate. They are 2 to 3 inches long, green on the top surface, pale and slightly fuzzy on the bottom.

Flowers: White to yellow, tubular in shape, 3/4 to 1 inch in length, and the petals are very thin. They bloom in the late spring, and are very fragrant.

Fruits: Small (1/4 inch in diameter) red berries appear in late summer and typically persist into winter.






Note, the light tan color of the bark and how elongated each branch can become.










Red berries, often eaten by birds contribute to the rapid spread of this plant. The berries lack the nutrition provided by other native shrubs, but without other options birds do what they can to survive.







Control

Mechanical: Cutting and mowing is most effective when food reserves are at their lowest in the early summer. Pulling or digging must be done to remove all roots. If this process is repeated multiple times, small honeysuckle shrubs can be eliminated once food reserves are depleted. If you are cutting the shrubs with saws or loppers be sure to apply a herbicide to the bare stump within minutes of cutting. Herbicides to be used are either glyphosate 5-10% solution or Tordon RTU (comparable herbicides can also be used).


Chemical:

Foliar Spraying: A method of control in which diluted herbicide is sprayed directly on the leaves of the targeted plants, wetting the foliage, but not to the point of runoff. Although very effective, spraying directed at less accessible plants can damage or kill non-target plants through herbicide drift or over-spray. Foliar control is best done in the spring before other vegetation has begun to grow or in the fall after other vegetation has already died off.

Basal Spraying: Refers to spraying a labeled herbicide mixed with an oil-based carrier on the lower 12–18 inch portion of the shrubs trunk. This mixture is sprayed to ensure that the trunk portion is wet, but not to the point of runoff to other possible non- target plants nearby. This treatment should only occur when the plant is dry and NOT frozen.

Brush Removal Cost Share:

Residents may qualify for cost share under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is a program under the US Farm Bill that provides money to landowners that install practices to improve environmental quality. For more information on EQIP call 513-887-3720.


For further information on the control of this plant please visit our honeysuckle removal page.

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