Asian Bush Honeysuckle was once actively imported by the USDA as a plant for ornamental aesthetics, wildlife cover, and erosion control. However, it quickly became an enemy to native environments. Bush honeysuckles can release chemicals into the ground that are poisonous to native plants. Additionally, the dense foliage of these plants block sunlight from reaching the forest floor, preventing the growth of young trees and plants that offer better cover for birds and forest animals. Even the berries produced by Asian bush honeysuckle are worse for native animals: they are actually less nutritious than native berries.
Asian bush honeysuckle stands 5-16 feet tall with reddish – orange berries, and white to reddish-pink flowers. Watch out for this plant being sold in nurseries under the name “Arnold’s Red,” “Zabelli,” or “Rem Red.” For more information on how to identify this plant, visit our Arb page. Also, don’t confuse this plant for one of our native honeysuckle species: use this great booklet “Mistaken Identity” to tell the native and invasive honeysuckles apart.
Removal and Disposal
Large Asian bush honeysuckle plants can be difficult to remove. Although seedlings can be pulled out at the roots, glyphosate or another similar herbicide will be required to kill larger plants. For more detailed instructions, check out page three of this pamphlet created by the Wisconsin DNR. Also note that the herbicide triclopyr has been found to be ineffective in killing Asian Bush Honeysuckle.
Still want honeysuckle? Try the native Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle
Check out what the Minnesota DNR says about this invasive plant.