Have you seen the plants budding out in the underbrush throughout the neighborhood? Its’s so exciting to know that spring is just around the corner, despite the odd winter we just experienced. However, most of what we are seeing is leafing out is the invasive bush honeysuckle that thrives in our area. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it is the number one invasive plant in the state, and is especially talented at strangling out our native plants and harming our native wildlife. Its a sneaky devil that it may look harmless, but it has toxins in its roots and blocks all of the sun so native plants can’t thrive. You can see when you inspect underneath the bush there are no other plants or flowers.
But it feeds the birds, you might say: yet the fruit from the honeysuckle is harmful to wildlife since it isn’t high in fat and lacks many nutrients. Native birds wear themselves out eating more of the berries (and consequently making more honeysuckle bushes).
So what is a homeowner to do? We all love the natural screening these thick quick-growing plants provide and removing the bushes is a lot of work. As with any big project, creating a easy to follow plan might be the best bet to help remove the invasive plants over time and replacing them with native plants that can also provide the natural screening we all love. As the metaphor says, you only can eat an elephant one bite at a time!
Some beautiful native replacement plants that provide a practical, healthy alternative to honeysuckle and you can buy from our local nurseries or online are pictured below. These five all create a natural native screening as well.