Many of the non-native invasive plants tend to green up early in the year. This aggressive growth habit is part of the reason they are so successful at claiming new territory. By the time most of the native species are beginning to grow, they are already overshadowed by the invasives. This Bush Honeysuckle is a good example of an invasive plant that gets an early start.
There’s also a disadvantage to being an early greening invasive plant. At least that trait is a disadvantage around here. While out walking, I’m constantly on the alert for those nasty invaders and am instantly attracted to any plant that looks a little too bright green and prosperous. I pull any small Honeysuckles that I happen to find. If you have to deal with Bush Honeysuckle, this is the size to hope for. You can easily remove the majority of the root system and the plant will not grow back.
There are several species of Bush Honeysuckle and the leaf characteristics vary slightly between species. They are all invasive. Fortunately they’re distinct enough for easy recognition as a group.
In areas that once supported mature Bush Honeysuckle, it’s nice to just deal with the little guys. A one foot tall Honeysuckle has survived to the point where it will easily continue on to maturity, so you can feel confident that you’ve just saved yourself a lot of future work by yanking out the small plant. The Bush Honeysuckle has a shallow root system that offers almost no resistance when you go to pull. The next easiest situation is having no Honeysuckle at all.
Little Autumn Olive plants can be given the same treatment.
Autumn Olive is a more deeply rooted plant, so it’s a little bit tougher to pull. It also has the ability to regrow from healthy root sections. Fortunately, small plants don’t leave enough root in the ground to make regrowth a problem. Someone recently asked me if there’s a size at which I recommend cutting and treating the plant instead of pulling. There is. If I pull an invasive shrub as hard as I can and it doesn’t come out of the ground, I then feel it would be more effective to cut the plant and treat it with herbicide.