early winter bush honeysuckle control

We have a Volunteer Time Off program at work, so I’ve been stealing a few hours here and there in the last few weeks to work on some of the bush honeysuckle that is persisting at the Mill Pond County Park (which I wrote about in February).

The Makutu herbicide stick applicator is a great ally in this fight. It’s assembled by volunteers at The Prairie Enthusiasts, one of my favorite ecological non-profits. Just cut the stem & dab the stump with the wand to eliminate the plant. The mixture is simply glyphosate concentrate mixed 50/50 with water, and will ensure that the plant will not resprout. It avoids the danger & noise of a chainsaw, saves back pain from pulling, and minimizes soil disturbance. Although one should always take precautions around herbicides, it practically eliminates any overspray concerns (damage to non-target species), and so little chemical is used that the cost is basically a rounding error.

It’s a great time to be in the woods. So few native plants have any green leaves that the honeysuckle really stands out. You don’t waste time hunting for (and missing) individual plants.

When this invasive shrub is not controlled, our native hardwoods slowly decay & are eventually lost. A simple, affordable tool that gets the job done. The hardest part is really just lining up enough people to actually do the work at the appropriate time. The majority of Indiana’s woodlands are in private hands; unfortunately, it’s not a common practice to actively manage bush honeysuckle. Hopefully this is something that can change.

May be an image of tree and outdoors
May be an image of outdoors


May be an image of nature and tree


May be an image of nature, tree and grass

5 Replies to “early winter bush honeysuckle control”

    • Adam Thada Post author

      That’s what I do. As the leaves are fading now I’m focusing my limited time right at the biggest plants with the aim at cutting off next year’s berry production. Deer will browse to some degree, so hopefully they crop the top of the littles.

  1. Chris Rohaly

    How long into the fall/winter is this technique effective? I’m sure that eventually these varmints also go dormant, correct?

    • Adam Thada Post author

      My understanding is that as long as it’s warm enough to get the herbicide to flow, you can do it during the dormant season. In the spring it’s not generally advisable as the juices are flowing upward and will push anything on the cut surface up and out.


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