Honeysuckle, with its heady scent and sweet, nectar-filled blooms, may appear to be straight from a fairy’s dream; but when growing in the wrong location, it can in fact be the stuff of nightmares. These butterfly magnets may look delightful, entwining their way up a tree or standing proud among other bushes; but once established, it may prove difficult to remove them. Honeysuckle is considered an invasive species; in fact, the US National Parks Service calls honeysuckle a "major pest." Natural and chemical removal methods are, however, available in helping to get rid of honeysuckle.
Grab young shoots at ground level and tug upward to eliminate honeysuckle. Remove entire plant, including the root system. Hand pulling is most effective when the earth is damp, allowing the roots to release more easily. Return to the location annually to remove any additional shoots that may appear.
Cut through entwining vines just above ground level. Repeat every two weeks to prevent plant from growing leaves and thereby conducting photosynthesis, which is how the roots are fed. Honeysuckle will die out once the roots no longer have a food source.
Burn either individual plants or spot burn areas in the spring. Prescribed burns will need to be repeated if new growth appears.
Mow entire area of honeysuckle. Mowing will need to occur again in 2 to 3 months to ensure that the root system does not continue to send up shoots.
Remove honeysuckle chemically with a 1.5 to 2.5% solution of glyphosate, known as Roundup, applied to the plant's foliage during autumn. Glyphosate can also be applied after mowing or after a prescribed burn.
Hire a goat herd. Herds of grazing goats are increasingly being used to eliminate unwanted vegetation. Goats prefer broadleaf and vines over grasses, and make excellent natural control for invasive species such as honeysuckle. The use of goats to remove brush has been gaining in popularity: even Google has rented goat herds. Goat herds may need to return three times, but the cost for large-scale removal is still less expensive than herbicide.
- Always follow manufacturer's directions when applying pesticides such as glyphosate. Wear protective clothing and do not apply when children are present. Keep out of reach of children.
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