Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat

NO Bush HoneysuckleBiodiverseCity St. Louis Network partners join together to spotlight the harmful impact of bush honeysuckle on our region. Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) degrades our beautiful woodlands, neighborhoods, backyards, trails, and stream banks into impenetrable thickets lacking ecological, economic, or recreational value. Beginning in 2016, organizations have hosted biannual public events and volunteer workdays throughout the months of March and November. Volunteers remove bush honeysuckle and replant with native species to improve public spaces for wildlife habitat, recreation, and enjoyment.

In an effort to energize the greater St. Louis region around improving habitat for our native plants and animals, area conservation organizations join together to spotlight invasive bush honeysuckle and the need to remove it so that large swaths of land can become productive areas for native habitat, recreation and enjoyment. To that end, organizations will host public events and volunteer removal days during Honeysuckle Sweep Month(s).

SPRING 2022 Honeysuckle Sweep will be the entire month of March. Volunteer dates and events are posted below. You can also find a list of educational resources below.

Project Goals:

  • Remove bush honeysuckle to promote the establishment of native plant species
  • Raise public awareness about the need for bush honeysuckle removal and the benefits of replacing invasive plant species with native plant species
  • Connect corridors and greenspaces throughout the St. Louis region to improve habitat for wildlife

How can bush honeysuckle threaten our local landscapes?

Bush honeysuckle can rapidly develop into dense infestations that:

  • Displace native and other desirable plants from our gardens and natural areas
  • Reduce habitat for wildlife such as butterflies, which depend upon native plants
  • Threaten the future of our woodlands, as mature trees die without replacement
  • Offer poor nutritional value for birds relative to fruits of native shrubs
  • Increase tick abundance and exposure to tick borne illness dues to higher deer concentration
  • Increase survival of mosquito larvae due to changes in water chemistry

What should our forests, streams and roadways look like without bush honeysuckle choking them?

Rock Bridge State Park
Rock Bridge State Park. Photo by Erick Bohle.
Eric Bohle of Columbia, Missouri has photographed infested and restored sites around Missouri and in St. Louis. His photo to the left shows an area in Rock Bridge State Park that does not yet have a bush honeysuckle infestation.

Visit parks and natural areas where acreage cleared of bush honeysuckle is being restored with native plants after recent removal events! You’ll find ideas to replace the honeysuckle “privacy hedge” on your property with native bushes, trees and flowers. Two such areas to visit are the Forest Park – Kennedy Woods Savannah in the City of St. Louis and Emmenegger Nature Park in Kirkwood.


Honeysuckle Sweep Month Events: March 2022

Please Note:

  • While the Missouri Botanical Garden is not the organizer of any of the events listed below, we strongly encourage all volunteers to follow CDC recommended guidelines for safety and prevention of the spread of COVID-19 when participating in Honeysuckle Sweep events.
  • Registration is often requested—check each description.
  • Please bring sturdy shoes, water bottle and gloves (if you have them).
  • Each organization will have additional information on hand to help ensure the safety of participants.


past participants March 12, 8:45 a.m.–noon
Honeysuckle and Wintercreeper Removal at St. Vincent Park
Organized by the Open Space Council

March 12, 9 a.m.–noon
Honeysuckle Hack at Castlewood State Park
Organized by the Open Space Council

March 12, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve
Organized by Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves
To register, contact travis@friendsilnature.org or the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves Facebook page

March 19, 8:45 a.m.–noon
Honeysuckle and Wintercreeper Removal at St. Vincent Park
Organized by the Open Space Council

March 19, 9–11 a.m.
Honeysuckle Sweep at Julius J Knobeloch Woods Nature Preserve (3018 Rentchler Road, Belleville, IL 62221)
Call or email Bill Rathmann to register. (618) 514-9027 or knobelochwoods@gmail.com

March 26, 9 a.m.–noon
Honeysuckle Hack at Crestwood Park
Organized by the Open Space Council

April 2, 8:45 a.m.–noon
Plant Natives, Remove Invasives!
Organized by the Open Space Council

April 2, 9 a.m.–noon
Friends of Carondelet Park
Meet at Boat House in Carondelet Park; the boat house faces the Loughborough side of the park.
Participants should register by email to Hannah Ehrlich at butzhannah@yahoo.com; (314) 541-1095.

April 16, 8:45 a.m.–noon
Honeysuckle Hack at Lower Meramec Park
Organized by the Open Space Council

April 30, 9 a.m.–noon
Creve Coeur Lake Honeysuckle Hack
Organized by the Open Space Council



Bush honeysuckle Bush Honeysuckle Removal, Control, Alternatives and MORE:


Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat Recap

2019 Sweep Results:

80 Events

Volunteer Hours
Acres Cleared
2018 Sweep Results:

39 Events
Volunteer Hours
Acres Cleared
2017 Sweep Results:

 28 Events
Volunteer Hours
Acres Cleared
2016 Sweep Results:

 25   Events/Locations

Acres Cleared

“I appreciate the leadership that was shown on this project. Although we regularly fight honeysuckle and other invasive species, this year we did it with more enthusiasm and with more volunteers. Many thanks to both of you and to Mo Bot for pushing this project.”

—Tim Wood, Sustainability Coordinator, The College School

A Community Initiative to Promote, Protect and Plan for Biodiversity Throughout the Greater St. Louis Region

Supported by Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri Logo


Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat sponsorship support by
the Trio Foundation of St. Louis.