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
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,