Bush Honeysuckle
Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), also known as Amur honeysuckle, is one of the most destructive invasive species in the St. Louis region. The Garden recently created a new bush honeysuckle brochure to increase public awareness of this issue and encourage citizens of our region to take notice and take action. This page on invasive bush honeysuckle provides complimentary information for the brochure, including expanded content on its origins and impacts, detailed instructions for control, native plants that are similar in appearance, and suggested landscaping alternatives.
 
Honeysuckle History

Bush Honeysuckle Removal and Control

When: Bush honeysuckle can be removed any time of the year. However, early spring and late fall are ideal for locating and removing this invasive shrub, since it has leaves when our native shrubs and trees do not. Once you develop an eye for the yellowish-green leaves of bush honeysuckle in late fall, this time of the year is ideal for detecting isolated shrubs and removing them before the infestation expands.

How: There are multiple effective methods of removing bush honeysuckle. Selecting the right approach depends upon a number of factors, such as the area covered by the invasion, the size of the plants to be removed, and your personal capabilities and preferences. These instructions are intended to provide homeowners and volunteers information necessary to take action against bush honeysuckle. Some additional methods for controlling large-scale infestations used by professional contractors and conservation organizations with highly specialized equipment and experience are not addressed.

Dig

Even large honeysuckle bushes can be removed by digging with shovels, pick axes, and other tools, but this is very labor intensive and causes extensive soil disturbance. Digging is a suitable approach for someone who wants to remove bush honeysuckle from their garden and replace it by planting non-invasive alternatives. It is not necessary to remove every piece of the root; bush honeysuckle will not resprout so long as the dense roots around the base of the stem are removed. However, digging is impractical for larger invasions on private lands, parks, and conservation areas. Aside from the physical challenge and inefficiency, widespread digging causes extensive soil disturbance and can damage other desirable plants. Soil disturbance creates optimal conditions for the establishment of bush honeysuckle and other invasive species, and should be avoided in streambanks or other areas prone to erosion.  

Resources