How to Remove Japanese Honeysuckle
These recommendations are primarily for homeowners and communities that would like to start working in their neighborhood greenspace. For each species we recommend herbicide-free control methods, but have added an herbicide option for some species for those who are comfortable using them. These methods were selected while keeping in mind limiting soil disturbance, reducing herbicide use, and avoiding harm to other species that may be present whether they be other plants/animals. Manual removal is possible for all of them if you have the time. If the infestation is overwhelmingly severe or these tips aren’t proving effective, we suggest you consider qualified professional services.
Lonicera japonica – Georgia EPPC Category 1 (serious problem in Georgia)
This plant can be more difficult to spot because of its smaller and less dense leaves, and because it tends to climb on small shrubs and trees making it difficult to untangle. Attention to detail and patience is key for successful removal.
Japanese honeysuckle growing in the ground layer.
Japanese honeysuckle climbing a hackberry sapling. Notice the colorful exfoliating bark.
Sever Climbing Vines
This invasive vine favors climbing on shrubs and young trees, creating a web of vines. The best way to remove these climbing vines is with a pair of hand pruners and patience. Unwrap each vine from the woody plant, using the pruners to make the detangling easier, and make a pile on the ground. These vines do not get very thick, so when you get to the base of the shrub or tree keep pulling at the vine to uproot it.
Japanese honeysuckle covering an American holly sapling.
Using pruners to cut off and detangle vines from the sapling.
Uproot Ground Vines
The most effective way to remove this invasive vine growing in the ground layer is to hand pull and uproot an area. Although this can be time consuming, you will have the least amount of regrowth and damage to native plants. When uprooting plants, be sure to tug at one vine at a time to limit the amount of soil disturbance. This plant can be more difficult to spot than others, so attention to detail is key! After removing a segment, shake the excess dirt off the roots and toss into a pile to dry out so it cannot regrow.
Pull gently but firmly to uproot the vine without breaking off roots.
“Category” refers to description of invasiveness based on information from the Georgia and North Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council (EPPC) and do not necessarily reflect the severity of invasions in Atlanta specifically. View our Resource “Atlanta’s Top Invasive Plants (A to Z) Expanded List” for more information.
A great opportunity to learn is volunteering with us at a Forest Restoration project. Please view our Calendar of upcoming service projects or consider enrolling in our annual Forest Stewardship training program. For other species removal, also read: How to Remove Our Top 10 Invasive Plants.
If you have any questions about this guide please email firstname.lastname@example.org.