Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dealing with Japanese Honeysuckle

This post is at least a week late. Last weekend I was able to get out in the yard and get some things done. I was sore for a couple of days afterward, but I guess that is a good thing. :-)
Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive bush that takes over woodlands and, because it leafs out much earlier than native trees and shrubs, it does not allow sunlight to get to the ephemeral wildflowers, eventually starving them. Although my first winter here, I did remove some and used them to create a brush pile, I don't want to cut them all out of the woodland because they provide some structure to the woodland. Being that there are not many native trees and shrubs in what I've deemed "the woods", I hate to totally remove them. Also, they have been providing some shelter to whatever wildlife uses the yard.
My first year here, I mostly removed the multifloral rose bushes (another invasive alien). My concern is that while trying to improve the biodiversity and restore native trees, shrubs, and forbs, I don't want to disturb what habitat is provided by the invasives. By girdling the honeysuckle bushes, I hope to leave the basic structure of the area intact while I add natives that provide berries for birds and mammals, flowers for butterflies and other insects, host plants for caterpillars, and shelter and nesting sites as well.
I was able to remove the roots of the multifloral roses (luckily the soil is loose enough that I was able to dig them out without much trouble using a pick) and ensure that they will not regrow. However, it is likely that the honeysuckle will send up shoots from the roots. I guess I'll deal with that later--either by breaking them off as they grow or cutting them out again next winter. At least they will not produce berries and further spread this invasive.

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