Many of us probably grew up with the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the summer air. Also called Amur honeysuckle, the Missouri Botanical Garden describes this former ornamental as “one of the most destructive invasive species in the St. Louis region.”
Amur honeysuckle, as well as other invasive honeysuckle species like Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), aren’t to be confused with Missouri’s native vine honeysuckle. Here’s what you need to know about invasive bush honeysuckle:
Bush honeysuckle is highly invasive in our area
Did you know that it’s illegal to sell bush honeysuckle in many states? That’s how big of a problem this species has become!
Without intervention, this plant can rapidly spread and:
- Choke out beneficial native species
- Reduce habitats for wildlife such as butterflies
- Increase tick populations
- Increase survival of mosquitos
You can identify bush honeysuckle by the following features:
- Hollow stems that are light tan with an arching shape and vertical lines on the bark
- Red or orange berries near the base of leaves in the fall
- 1-inch-long tubular flowers with a narrow petal that start white, then become a yellow color
- Dense shrubs that range from 3-15 feet tall
- Leaves are directly across from each other (opposite) and not staggered (alternate)
Make plans to remove bush honeysuckle now
Bush honeysuckle can be removed year-round, but fall is the best time to remove bush honeysuckle thanks to their retention of leaves which makes for easier identification. So, start making removal plans now!
You can remove honeysuckle by:
- Hand pulling or digging out seedlings
- Cutting stems to ground level and applying herbicides
- Calling a professional like Hansen’s Tree Service for commercial land clearing
For removal, contact the ISA Certified Arborists at Hansen’s Tree Service. We are certified, educated, and insured to safely remove invasive shrubs like bush honeysuckle from your property. If applying herbicides, read all application instructions carefully and wear protective clothing.
Landscaping alternatives for bush honeysuckle
American beautyberry, buttonbush, and elderberry are good alternatives to bush honeysuckle in your landscaping. Some people value bush honeysuckle as a natural screen (or visual barrier) since it is very thick and hard to see through. If this is your goal, consider evergreen trees or shrubs arranged accordingly to create your natural screen.