Pruning Honeysuckle Shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Florissant, MO
Question by kirkland49
October 12, 1998
We have a honeysuckle shrub that is growing like crazy. It almost looks like a tree by now! Have we waited too long to prune it? What can we do to bring it down to a manageable size?

Answer from NGA
October 12, 1998


There are many kinds of honeysuckle, some shrubby and some climbers. Of the shrub types, all can be kept below eight feet in height with judicious pruning. Since yours seems to have gotten away from you, you can prune it back hard in the spring, just before new growth begins. Reach way inside and remove some of the oldest growth as you prune to shape. Cut back the stems that have flowered, and remove any tangled, non-productive stems. New shoots will develop at the crown of the plant to fill in the gaps. If you plan to reduce your honeysuckle in a major way, you might want to take two or three years to complete the renovation. Otherwise the plant may not recover very quickly. Honeysuckles are vigorous growers and should be pinched and pruned throughout the growing season to keep help them in shape. Some are used as hedges and are sheared back annually. Experiment a little with your plant to see how it reacts to pruning. Then you can develop a pruning schedule to keep it looking its best.

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