We just moved to five acres, which I'm pretty excited about since it's a clean slate. Three-ish acres are mature 20-30 year old woods. The edge between the forest and our yard is pretty choked with invasive honeysuckle and I'm starting to slowly manage/remove it so it won't take over and choke out more beneficial growth. I'm planning on turning around 1.5 acres of pure grass adjoining these woods into a food forest.
What do you recommend I do or plant to fill the void where honeysuckle was so it's not as easy or hospitable for it to come right back? (It'll take me quite awhile to remove all of it from the property, so I'm sure the birds will continue to spread it.)
I would fill the void with your food forest
start building your food forest from the existing woods out into the yard. this edge where the two meet is a highly productive area
dig it out and the shade will help keep the honeysuckle from coming back as strong
plant other things for the birds to eat and spread
I'm going to be following this thread with interest, since we have a similar situation, though a smaller space (1 acre). We have a little corner gully/drainage creek where the lindens have been dying. The honeysuckle were all the understory(?), and then mostly daylilies and some skunk cabbage, and others I'm not familiar with. As the lindens have been falling, it's been very nicely shaded, and I'm hoping to take out the honeysuckle and replace it with something, too. There are utility lines, so I'd like to keep it as something smaller. And it's a visible corner of our suburban lot, so I like the idea of the shrubs for a little privacy. I'd been looking at the american plum http://www.coldstreamfarm.net/p-142-american-plum-prunus-americana.aspx The blue honeysuckle looks exciting, though, too, and it fits my concern about the height better.
I don't know how plum does in shade but we loved ours. They made a really wonderful jelly and some very interesting plum meade. They do have twigs that act like thorns, tho so you have to be a little careful around the trees, but nothing like honeylocusts!
Location: Wisconsin, zone 5A
posted 7 years ago
Renate - thanks for the description of the plum! I was wondering what the fruit was like. Having the thorns would be a bonus for us, I think, since the kids like to play down there, it could keep them contained a bit How tall has yours gotten?
CJ - thanks also for sharing your experience with cold stream farms. I was also looking at the hazelnuts for another border. I've not done much ordering online yet, so I appreciate the references.
Location: zone 6b
posted 7 years ago
In the 11 years we had them they wound up growing to between 10 and 15 feet, I think. They do develop an arching shape over time, so if you want clearance under them you have to keep pruning, but nothing like a weeping tree.
The fruit was really good. It never had any insect problems or scab or anything, except the tent caterpillars liked it, but they never did lasting damage. The fruit was really sweet with a more sour skin. I've never been a big fan of fresh plums but I did use them for cooking - asian plum sauce, jelly, etc. It made a gorgeous sparkling pink/orange jelly that was wonderfully tart. I tried drying it but it became rock hard, not sure if I did anything wrong. Mine didn't sucker but the seeds did grow where the fruit dropped. Mowing took care of unwanted trees, tho.