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University of Illinois Extension

Exotic Bush Honeysuckle

August 11, 2014

My son Derek has been working hard this summer to remove invasive plants around our property. They are found in our CRP prairie, in the woods, and in other unmown natural areas. The most invasive plants on our property are garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet, and burning bush.

Not all bush honeysuckle are invasive, though none are native here. I have a planting of winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) that is not an escape threat in the Midwest. It is known for its small white fragrant flowers that occur in early spring.

Candice Miller, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator in northern Illinois, wrote the following about the exotic bush honeysuckles.

The invasive bush honeysuckles were introduced to the U.S. for use as ornamentals, for wildlife cover, and for soil erosion control. These exotic bush honeysuckles Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle), Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle), and Lonicera tatarica (Tartarian honeysuckle) also have fragrant flowers in early summer. As you drive along highways near wooded areas, you'll notice the pairs of fragrant, white or pink tubular flowers, followed by bright red berries. Birds love these fruits and will widely disseminate seeds across the landscape.

Bush honeysuckles are upright, generally deciduous shrubs that range from 6 to 15 feet in height. According to the US Forest Service, exotic bush honeysuckles are relatively shade-intolerant and most often occur in forest edges, abandoned fields, pastures, roadsides and other open, upland habitats. Woodlands, especially those that have been grazed or otherwise disturbed may also be invaded by exotic bush honeysuckles.

The many problems with exotic bush honeysuckles are the following (US Forest Service fact sheet):

Have some of these invasive shrubs on your property? Removing these shrubs is very important to restoring our native habitats. Removal can be done by a variety of mechanical and chemical methods. See this fact sheet for a list of management options: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/loni1.htm. More information can be found at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_009128.pdf

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