Shrub Honeysuckles

Fact SheetTreatmentLonicera sp.

Invader Images

    • Morrow’s honeysuckle, hairy underside of leaf, white flowers, leaves egg shape with slight taper at tip
      Morrow’s honeysuckle, hairy underside of leaf, white flowers, leaves egg shape with slight taper at tip
    • Amur honeysuckle, hairy leaf that is egg shaped with a long taper at tip, white flowers that yellow with time
      Amur honeysuckle, hairy leaf that is egg shaped with a long taper at tip, white flowers that yellow with time
    • Twinned berries, that are generally red to yellow in color
      Twinned berries, that are generally red to yellow in color
    • Tatarian honeysuckle, flowers are shades of pink-red and asymmetrical, leaves are not hairy, leaves are egg shaped with rounded base
      Tatarian honeysuckle, flowers are shades of pink-red and asymmetrical, leaves are not hairy, leaves are egg shaped with rounded base
    • Bell Honeysuckle, variable characteristics, but usually has pink flowers.
      Bell Honeysuckle, variable characteristics, but usually has pink flowers.
    • Hollow, brown pith
      Hollow, brown pith

Common Look-alikes

    • Native plant, American honeysuckle has yellow tubular flowers, leaves can be hairy, and has a solid, white pith
      Native plant, American honeysuckle has yellow tubular flowers, leaves can be hairy, and has a solid, white pith

Identification

There are four invasive species of bush honeysuckle that invade Vermont forests. These include Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackki), Morrow’s honeysuckle (Loniceria morrowii), Tartanian honeysuckle, (Lonicera tatarica) and Bell’s honeysuckle (Lonicera x bella).  All of them are deciduous shrubs with opposite, egg shaped leaves, fragrant flowers, and red or orange-red berries. They can grow to be 15 feet high.

The four invasive species are difficult to distinguish from one another. The most important thing to know is how to tell it apart from native honeysuckle. All of the invasive honeysuckle species found in Vermont have a hollow pith. Native honeysuckle has a solid white pith and is not typically as robust of a shrub as the invasives.

***Check out the downloadable fact sheet above***

Biology

Ecological Threat

These invasive species compete with native plants for sunlight, moisture and pollinators. And while birds eat the fruit, it is poorer in fats and nutrients than fruits from native plants, so the birds do not get enough nutrients to help sustain long flights during migrations.

Origin

Asia, Shrub or bush honeysuckles were introduced to North America for use in landscaping, erosion control and wildlife cover. Unfortunately, these plants then spread throughout much of the country.

Habitat

Forest, forest edge, floodplains, meadows, fields, disturbed areas

Life Cycle

Shrub honeysuckles reproduce mainly by seed but some vegetative re-sprouting can occur in established populations. Plants mature between 3-5 years of age. Each plant produces thousands of berries as fruit, and each fruit contains 2-6 seeds. Seeds can remain viable for 3-5 years.

Management Options

These species are Quarantined: Class B Noxious Weeds

***Check out the downloadable treatment sheet above***

Mechanical Management

Hand pull: Any time of year when the ground is soft, especially after a rain, hand pull small plants by the base of the stem. Be sure to pull up the entire root system. Hang from a branch to prevent re-rooting. For larger plants, use a wrenching tool. Continue to monitor the area every year for new seedlings.

Cut stump: Cut plants back in the fall or winter. Wrap a few layers of burlap or thick plastic over the stump and tie tightly with twine or rope. Check covered stumps periodically and cut back any new growth.

Chemical Management

Cut stump:  Cut the plant 4 inches above the ground. Use a drip bottle to apply an 18-21% glyphosate solution to the stump within one hour of cutting. This is best done in late summer through winter when plants are transporting resources to their root systems.

Low volume foliar spray: This method is used for dense populations and best left to a contractor. In the fall, when native plants are losing their leaves, spray a 2% glyphosate or triclopyr solution on the entire leaf surface of the plant. In order to avoid drift to native plants, spray only on calm days.

 

**Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work. And when using herbicides, always follow the instructions on the label.**

How You Can Help

 

NATIVE/NON-INVASIVE ALTERNATIVES

Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), alternate leaved dogwood (syn. Pagoda dogwood) (Swida alternifolia), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Native Perennials and Shrubs for Vermont Gardens​​

Choose native plants

Alternatives to Common Invasive Plants and Characteristics of Select Alternatives