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Getting rid of honeysuckle

(14 Posts)
ShoeEatingMonster Tue 23-Aug-16 20:06:39

I'll start off by admitting I know next to nothing about gardening.

We moved into our new house nearly a few months ago. The previous people we presume were low maintained types. Our back garden has (ugly) raised concrete beds. All lined and filled with bark and a few shrubs. However on one side the entire stretch has been over taken by some rather large bushes (that I can't identity) and a bloody enormous and established honeysuckle. The bastard thing is destroying the fence. I've done my best to cut it back but I'll fighting a loosing battle and some of the branches are an inch think. Basically it's gotta go! I'm also assuming the mouldy fungus on the bark that is only in that section isn't a coincidence.
How do I get rid of it?!?

shovetheholly Wed 24-Aug-16 09:42:17

You probably need to go in at the base, with a pruning saw and cut it down. (I love my pruning saw. It's Japanese, called a Silky Zubat and it comes in a sheath so I feel like a samurai when I use it - it goes through wood like butter). Then use a mattock to dig the stump out. Prepare for lots of trips to the tip.

I feel slightly reluctant saying this because honeysuckle can be wonderful - smells great, looks good, loved by wildlife. Are you sure you can't give it a radical prune instead, taking out some of the larger branches with a saw?

JT05 Fri 26-Aug-16 17:28:10

I agree, it's lovely when controlled. We have quite a bit and every Autumn I severely hack it down, it recovers with lovely smelling flowers. It is very hard to kill, unless you attack the base and roots.

Sosidges Fri 26-Aug-16 19:18:02

Cut into the base and then treat with Roundup Tree and root killer, if you have no objections to using chemicals.

ShoeEatingMonster Sat 27-Aug-16 07:25:05

It's completely trashed the neighbours fence and they aren't happy! I think the problem is that the previous occupiers didn't do anything with it and it's just spread and spread. It's intertwined with all the other plants and bushes and taken over.
I've started hacking back and made decent progress but broken a saw trying to get through some of the bigger branches. No idea how far the roots have spread.

I agree it's pretty and a shame but I think it was just too far gone and it's a bit too high maintenence for me. blush

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 27-Aug-16 07:37:57

I have one too, I totally feel your pain! I virtually kill ours once a year and the beast just keeps coming back. I have filled a builders ton bag with clippings and it's already growing back, plus it crawls up the fence and snags our neighbours one and pulls it over the fence with it!
If you prune it in the autumn loads of spiders drop out of it from underneath too.

Sosidges Sat 27-Aug-16 08:14:48

The problem with pruning hard is that it thinks, 'yummy, let me put all my energy into making more roots, so I can cause havoc next year'. Killing the roots is the only way I think.

CuttedUpPear Sat 27-Aug-16 13:52:35

Prune it back hard, repair the fence to a standard good enough to support the honeysuckle and enjoy the gorgeous smell next year.

ShoeEatingMonster Sun 28-Aug-16 00:37:02

It's gone!!!
I took off as much as I could and mu wonderful FIL came and dug up all the roots grin

Sosidges Sun 28-Aug-16 03:47:52

Hooray .I have to get rid of 2 honeysuckle, 3 pyracantha and about 5 other huge shrubs. If I pay postage will you mail me your FIL.

ShoeEatingMonster Sun 28-Aug-16 10:41:14

Happily! I think he enjoyed himself the wierdo!

Chimchar Sun 28-Aug-16 10:49:49

Can I gatecrash? I have a two year old honeysuckle which has grown massive! It needs cutting back, but when should I do it? Also, when you say cutting back hard...how far do I go with it? Every branch off or just sort of thin it out leaving the big established branches?

Thanks for any advice. I'm utterly shit at gardening!!

shovetheholly Wed 31-Aug-16 08:46:41

chimchar - most honeysuckle is pretty tough and unlike other climbers, for most varieties there aren't strict rules about pruning. If it really is out of control then next spring, get in there and just chop it all back to a couple of feet above the ground. You may need a saw or loppers for some of the branches.

However, use your judgement. If it's growing in places that you do like, and hiding a multitude of sins with it, then you can leave those parts and just cut out the bits that are irritating you! grin

Next year, have a good look at when and where it flowers. Some kinds come early, and the flowers are on the new growth of the season. With these, you just chop them back how you want them every spring - thin them if they're getting a bit bushy and congested, and that's it. Other kinds come later, and the flowers are on the last year's growth. These get cut back more systematically after flowering (so in summer), with each stem taken back by a third.

Chimchar Wed 31-Aug-16 22:26:26

Thanks so much Shove. Really helpful.

So it seems that I won't hurt it too much whatever I do to it! Great news. wink
Will give it a trimette in a week or so. Just as a practice for the real hack back when it gets a bit more wintery.

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