If only a few small plants are present, they can be pulled, dug, cut, or mowed fairly easily. Pulling or digging of small plants is most effective if done following a rain and fairly easy since the plants are shallow rooted. Cutting and mowing is most effective when initiated in early summer when food reserves are at their lowest. In order to achieve control, pulling or digging must be done so that essentially every root is removed. While this is perhaps impossible, if it is repeated frequently, small honeysuckle shrubs can ultimately be eliminated once food reserves are exhausted.
The key to this type of control method is to be vigilant. Mechanical control alone is usually not a completely effective method of controlling medium to large bush honeysuckle shrubs. Simply cutting the shrub off at the base will cause prolific sprouting and increase the number of stems.
An effective strategy for controlling mature bush honeysuckle will deaden both the above ground portion and the root system, which eliminates the potential for sprouting. This can be achieved most effectively through the use of herbicides. When honeysuckle infestations are so dense that access to the area is limited, landowners may elect to use some mechanical means of removing large plants and a large number of plants. Whether using a skid steer, tractor, or some other piece of equipment to pull the plant out of the ground, realize that some follow-up treatments will be needed.
Care needs to be taken that any damage to the residual forest stand is minimal, and a follow-up application of a foliar herbicide should be applied when the remaining honeysuckle roots begin to sprout see Table 1 for foliar herbicide options. Also, be cautious of the timing of removal. These types of removals may best be done when the ground is frozen or at a minimum when the ground is not wet.
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Removing vast amounts of plants may result in large areas of disturbed soil and care should be taken to minimize any erosion and compaction potential created when the plants are removed. Foliar spraying is a method of control in which diluted herbicide is sprayed directly on the leaves of the targeted plants. This can be a very effective method of controlling honeysuckle but should only be used when the target plants are within easy reach of the sprayer.
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Spraying directed at less accessible plants can damage or kill valuable non-target plants through herbicide drift or overspray. In addition, care needs to be taken to ensure that herbicides are sprayed to wet the foliage but not to the point of runoff. Bush honeysuckle leaves remain green and active late into fall mid to late October when most native plant species have gone dormant. Foliar applications of some herbicides can be used at this time with little or no impact to non-target species especially after the first hard frost in the fall.
Herbicides recommended for foliar spraying of bush honeysuckle are listed in Table 1. Cut stump treatments are a very effective method for controlling many undesirable woody shrubs and work well on bush honeysuckle. This method involves cutting the shrub off close to the ground and applying an herbicide to the cut surfaces and sometimes the bark with a spray bottle, paintbrush, roller, or wicking device.
Whether to use an oil or water soluble herbicide depends on the timing of the herbicide application after the cut. Utilize an oil soluble herbicide when planning to cut and later return to treat the stumps. Apply the oil soluble herbicide to the entire top and sides of the cut stump but not to the point of excessive runoff.
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Apply anytime as long as the stumps are dry and not frozen. Herbicides both water- and oil-soluble recommended for cut stump treatments of bush honeysuckle are listed in Table 2. Late summer, early fall, or dormant season applications have all proven to be effective. Avoid applications during sap-flow spring as this lessens the effectiveness of the herbicide application.
A basal application for bush honeysuckle refers to the spraying of a labeled herbicide mixed with an oil-based carrier on the lower 12—18 inches of the stem. The herbicide is sprayed, ensuring that the stems are wet but not to the point of runoff. Basal treatments should only be applied when the areas to be treated are dry and not frozen.
Due to the arching nature of bush honeysuckle shrubs, access to the lower portion of the shrubs trunk is not always easy to achieve. Care should be taken to ensure that the chemical being applied is reaching the lower portion of the shrub's trunk and not merely being applied in its general vicinity.go
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Label recommendations must be followed to maximize the potential for successful control. Just as important as the initial work is the follow up. Several of the treatments detailed in this fact sheet take time to completely deaden bush honeysuckle.
Monitor treated plants for at least one year to determine if complete control is achieved. Any plants that re-sprout or are not completely killed by the first treatment will warrant a follow up treatment. Herbicides, like all pesticides, are registered and approved labeled for specific uses by the Environmental Protection Agency. Approved uses and application methods are listed and described on the pesticide's label. The herbicides listed in this fact sheet were appropriately labeled at the time of publication.
Because pesticide labeling may change at any time, you should verify that a particular herbicide is still labeled for your intended use. At the time of publication, copies of most herbicide labels and SDS could be obtained online at the Crop Data Management System web site cdms. Others are available through the individual manufacturer's website. CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis.
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