The Q&A Archives: Overgrown Honeysuckle

Question: I've moved into a cul-de-sac home with a great private backyard. The problem is the perimitter of the lot consists of out of control shrubs, weeds, and wild flowers (mostly overgrown honeysuckle plants). Each year the honeysuckle shades more of the yard, killing the grass around the perimitter, allowing more weeds and wild brush to encroach, and crowding smaller trees. I would like to preserve the natural look of the landscape and they privacy we get, but this mess needs help.

Should I get rid of it? If not, how do I get it and keep it under control?

Answer: If you have the wild growing Japanese honeysuckle it is probably a good idea to get rid of it since it will continue to cause you grief with its rampant, smothering growth. Alternatively, simply cut it back very hard to the ground periodically to maintain it at a reasonable size. In some areas this is in fact considered a pernicious weed and is classed as an invasive exotic plant, so you needn't feel guilty if you decide to remove it. You could eventually replace it for example with some better behaved and attractive vines such as the much smaller native honeysuckles with pinkish or reddish flowers which are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

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