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Japanese honeysuckle—how to eradicate?

 
gardener
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So Japanese honeysuckle is notoriously invasive by me.  JH grows everywhere, grows FAST climbs other vegetation and tends to smother everything in sight.  I try to cut back and pull roots, but it always grows back—quickly.  In some places I can partially control with mowing, but around trees the stuff is actually dangerous to young tree growth, smothering whatever it can climb.

Suggestions anyone?

Eric
 
pollinator
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Location: San Diego, California
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I've got no advice, but I feel you; where I grew up the asparagus fern grew just as fast, and was a thorny bear to pull out.
 
pollinator
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Eric, are you just cutting it back (aka pruning it for more vigorous growth)?  When we want to get rid of honeysuckle, we cut the entire bush down as close as we can get to the base as possible, then we split the stump open in several places, flatten as much as possible and then cover (tightly) very well with something to smother it (thick plastic and cinder blocks work well).  Leave it like that for at least a year.  I know that sounds really involved, but outside of some type of poison, I don't know anything else that works.  
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ,

The honeysuckle I have by me is not a bush.  It is a a vine.  Think kudzu's little kid brother.  It grows out of the ground about the size of a pencil and climbs on anything and everything in sight.  Basically, cutting JH is either to relieve pressure on a nearby tree in which I will simply cut the vines, or I cut right down to the ground and then pull up roots.  Continual mowing makes it recognize some boundaries and it grows the best/worst right along a wood line where it gets plenty of sunlight for growth, but also gets protection from trees and brush.

I grew up with the honeysuckle shrub, but this was nowhere near as invasive as the JH vine.

Eric
 
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One trick that is suggested with bindweed is to give it something to grow up to divert it from your desirable plants. For example, a simple stick wigwam just placed nearby. Train the stems onto it when they are young and they will stay put. If you trim them back to ground level you need to keep on trimming them, or they will regrow and attack your trees again. If you do decide to use a more aggressive way of killing them (eg a propane torch, vinegar etc...) then they are bundled nicely ready to use.

I've not used propane torches myself, but I understand that the secret is just lightly singe the leave, rather than burn them away. The heat damaged leaves suck nutrients from the root system as they try to heal, where as more substantial burning just stimulates new shoots from the roots.
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:
The honeysuckle I have by me is not a bush.  It is a a vine.  Think kudzu's little kid brother.


This is what I have, only it is an escaped jasmine. It is unstoppable. And the vines are HARD, like you can't pull them out. The kicker is the darn thing doesn't even flower. I cut as much as possible but it is now under a concreted area and one of these days it is going to just knock the whole neighborhood down when it busts out of there.
 
Eric Hanson
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Tereza,  

Sounds like what I have.

Crazy thing is that birds love this.  It also smells so sweet in the spring.  I would love it if It did not grow so rampantly,

Eric
 
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I have a very similar issue with wild grapevine, native morning glory, and peppervine.
The morning glory is the easiest to rip off of whatever it's growing on but, if it's already blooming, pulling it ends up scattering thousands of seeds that tend to germinate as soon as they hit the ground. So I will generally use the propane torch over the area if there's nothing else I want to damage there. That tends to kill most of the seeds and any seedlings that have already sprouted and preparing to take over.

The grapevine & peppervine are a different story. Both are woody perennials and have huge root systems that simply shoot up a new vine 10-20 feet away from the one I cut down. They also grow fast enough to engulf a mature pecan tree in a single season, and the grapevine makes "trunks" that are 6+ inches thick and require a lot of sawing (or a chainsaw) to sever them from the root system.
The best results has been digging/pulling as many of the main roots as possible, as those tend to have the growth buds to put up new growth. Then, it takes a few weeks to monitor the area and dig/torch any new shoots that come up in the area from the roots that broke during the first eradication. I usually spend about 10 minutes each day to monitor the area and deal with any new shoots. Eventually I, either get all of the roots removed, or drain the stored energy the plant needs to send up new growth. But, it takes consistent monitoring, because a couple of days of new growth and photosynthesis seems to accumulate enough energy for it to produce lots of new roots & prolong the battle.

Also, I try to remember the old phrase, "how do you eat an elephant?" ("One bite at a time)."
I found it's best to deal with a small number of plants at a time, instead of taking on the whole system at once. Otherwise I quickly find myself overwhelmed with new growth shooting up a fifty+ feet away. I don't know the growth habit of the honeysuckle, but some of the vines I've been dealing with have been growing, unchecked, longer than the 34 years I've been alive which tends to mean they have a ton of energy stored in the root system.

Good luck with your battle! Persistence always pays off!
 
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