Sunday, June 6, 2010

Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese Honeysuckle is on the list of
invasive plants for Ohio. Honeysuckle is a non-native
plant to Ohio, fast growing trailing or climbing woody vines
capable of covering large areas of ground or extending into
the tops of trees which is what it has done at my home.
It is found around here along roadsides, on old fence rows
and where abandoned homes stand or once stood.



Japanese honeysuckle is native to eastern Asia and was
introduced into New York in 1806 as an ornamental plant
and ground cover. Now distributed over most of the
southern and eastern United States, it is often planted
as a source of food for wildlife. The berries are eaten by
the birds and the blooms are magnets for bees, butterflies
and hummingbirds.




In Ohio, the leaves are semi evergreen, persisting late
into winter or early spring. The stems are usually hairy
and hollow inside, reaching a length of 30 feet or more.
Very fragrant, white to yellow flowers is produced in pairs
along the stems from May through June.
The fruit is a many seeded, black berry maturing
from September to November.
These massive vines were produced on the other side
of our garage from an old vine I had ripped out about
thirty years ago and had thrown into the woods.
The vines or seeded berries took root and took off growing
up the nearby pair of Honey Locust trees that grow there.



The vines growing thirty feet or more grow into the
tops of the trees and as you can see below they are even
starting to grow up guide wires to a nearby electric pole
and could cause problems if left  to grow.



These vines are often able to out compete native
species for nutrients and water and the weight of
the vines in tree tops often add to wind damage to
trees. The only thing competing with these vines is
the green briar vines that are growing right up along
with and beside them.



This is what happens when the vines are left
to themselves. It is shade tolerant  and grows in
any soil so there is nothing really to deter its growth.
These vines have become a massive wall of vines
along the woods in this small area.



I have let it grow because the fragrance of such
massive vines is heavenly in spring and early summer
when it blooms. That and because I was ignorant as to
what damage it could do after left to grow on its own for
so many years. Many times we plant something because
we just like it and do not look into the future of what
that plant will grow up to be. How many of us have
planted shade trees below electric wires or too close
together or even to close to the house or other buildings
only to have to cut them down later?
Now that the vines are  so massive I would not know
how to begin to get rid of it all.
As to it growing up the guide wires, there it can be
sprayed by  myself and our local electricity provider
does spray along the lines to keep plants and trees from
growing over or under the electric lines.
But if I had only known then what I know now I
would have made certain they never got out of hand.
So take a tip from this gardener and think about
that vine you get from along the roadside
before you plant it in your yard or along your wood line.
There might be an invasive reason that it is still growing
there where you found it or where Grandma had it.
As I found out the hard way there is also a reason why
that Trumpet vine is still growing along that old fence line
after the old house is long gone.
These  are both invasive vines.
For the terror of Trumpet vines read an old posting
of mine called ‘Die Trumpet Vine! Please Die!”

Happy Gardening Everyone !!

Until Next Time,


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Good morning, Lona. I am not sure if I wrote to you about this before..but I did tell someone.

Morning Glories were featured on the cover of a magazine as the most lovely of cottage vines to make your home all warm and cozy looking..yes..well..
They invaded my neighbors yard climbing to the top of their trees...and mine as well...It cost me a couple hundred dollars to have them removed...and even then...they kept coming back. I could control them on my side of the fence..but not the neighbors. Some vines on the side of a building..can grown vines so thick as to lift tiles from roofs..and I do mean the clay ones as found in California. They can do structural damage as well. I love vines..but now I am wary of them...very!! Perhaps all vines should be used with care...
I was tempted to plant two Honeysuckles along side fence..but am now thinking better of it. You are right the smell is wonderful.

One more thing. My son planted one and it grew along his thick, smelled so lovely..pretty flowers...
His sweet dog got caught up in it as it guarded their fence...and they found it dead all tangled in the vines. It had struggled and struggled and made it worse and it finally strangled. You are right. I will rethink the vines on the side of the house.

Thanks so much for the information..

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Mona: OMG! That is the first I have heard that someone had such trouble with Morning Glories. I know I have a few volunteers that come up around the yard. They are brought in by the birds is one guess and I have grown them but have had no trouble with them so far.
That is just and awful thing to have had happen to the dog. Wow, that makes one think.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Hi, Lona.
I remember smelling honeysuckle as a child. Divine! It's too bad that they are such a nuisance. Don't we have some native honeysuckle, too? I'm trying to remember if I have seen some in a wildflower field guide.

madcobug said...

We have those kind of Honeysuckle running everywhere. I love the smell of them but the are very invasive. Helen

Anonymous said...

Well, if you have to have an out of control plant, it certainly is a beauty. Good luck controlling it; I hope you are successful.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, I had a Trumpet Vine at my last house. In two years, it had lifted off the gutters! Luckily, we were able to remove it before it got so big we couldn't handle it.


Jim Groble said...

Lona, thanks for the advice. We don't have the vine in our yard. Pat and I have to fight garlic mustard in our area. The storms that hit you also hit us. We did not have any downed trees, just a lot of standing water. jim

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Are you talking about the white morning glories? Or the annual colored varieties? We have the perennial white ones around here, how awful for that poor dog, and his family.

Our honeysuckle tend to not get so big around here, it could be the harder winters. But this is a super informative post, and I am so glad that you wrote it.


Antique ART Garden said...

Double Yikes as I love my trumpet vine in my garden , have I created a monster and don't know it ??!! Triple yikes ! Gina

pogonip said...

Being a gardener sure makes one peer into the future pretty hard before planting anything. I've killed a fair number of plants through indecision over the years, lol!

Thank heavens our climate here is rigorous enough that we can have honeysuckle and trumpet vine and still sleep soundly at night. Guess there's a silver lining in every killing frost!

Aerie-el said...

Wow. It is eye-opening that so many of the plants introduced from other areas as lovely little ornamentals, over time, turn into big ol' bully brute invasives. It gives one pause...

Stephanie said...

The flowers look sweet in close up ;-) When I go for walks in the park I like to observe strong vines like this one that could just get support from any tree and up they climb. I am sure the plant is really happy growing in the wild like this he he...

Happy@Home said...

You make a good point. Those invasive vines can cause a lot of problems. Before a house was built next to us there was a lot with many pine trees and honeysuckle growing all through it. When it was in bloom the smell in my yard was heavenly. Recently the area under my fountain was overtaken by wild honeysuckle that I never planted. My husband pulled it all and ended up with a rash similar to poison ivy on his hands, arms and legs. He looked on the internet and discovered that some people do have an allergic reaction to it.

Noelle said...

Oh goodness...your photos clearly show how invasive they are. It is sad that so many non-native plants have been brought over with no thought of how they would grow here.

Roses and Lilacs said...

For some reason, I never see the Japanese honeysuckle in this area. I remember it form my years living in the south. Nothing smells better on a hot summer night.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

These invasives are so pretty and so scary! Good post, Lona! I keep one of my honeysuckles in a pot and another one in a dry shade where it grows very slow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lona~~ Here in the Pacific Northwest it's English ivy.

I grow 'Hall's' honeysuckle and left to its own devices it would probably swallow my house but I'm careful about keeping it pruned.

Love the fragrance.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

@Adrienne, lonicera sempervirens (which I grow) is native to the US, at least. No scent to mine, but the hummingbirds adore it and it flowers prolifically.

Great post, Lona. Very important for people to know that even if they think they have some of these things "under control" in their yard, the effects of dropped seeds elsewhere can be devastating.