Bush Honeysuckle poses threat to native plant diversity


Champaign County, Ill. (WCIA)

Invasive, Non-Native Bush Honeysuckle and a Native Lookalike

• Bush Honeysuckle is a non-native invasive species and the single biggest threat to native plant diversity in Illinois forests

• Negative impacts bush honeysuckle:
o shade tolerant shrub that invades forest ecosystems and takes over the understory
o shades out native trees and wildflowers
o releases a chemical in the soil
o also impacts wildlife, bird populations, small mammals, etc
o may increase tick populations by attracting more deer who bring more deer ticks

• Where does bush honeysuckle occur?
o Woodlands and other natural areas
o Parks and urban areas, edges of yards, anyplace unmowed and shady
o Highways, drainageways, railroads and other corridors

• How can you identify bush honeysuckle?
o Medium sized to large shrub with an arching branch habit
o Bright red berries in fall
o Green leaves when other plants are dormant
 It stays green for 2weeks longer in fall and leafs out 2 weeks early in spring
o It does look similar to other shrub species

• What should you do?
o This plant needs to be removed from your property!
o Small plants can be hand-pulled as they are shallow rooted
o Larger plants need to be cut down and treated with a herbicide

• What’s next after removal?
o In forests – let native tree seedlings flourish, keep honeysuckle out
o In your yard – plant other similar sized shrubs that are native
 Coralberry is a native lookalike species
 Some other natives:
• For shade: spicebush, smooth hydrangea, coralberry
• For part or full sun: hazelnut, buttonbush, shrubby St. John’s wort, New Jersey tea, elderberry, ninebark, sumacs, viburnums

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