Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ripping Out Honeysuckles

There are three or four different kinds of invasive honeysuckles: Japanese, Amur, and others, and while not all honeysuckles are invasive tree killers, the tangled shrubbery you see along Missouri roadways and trainways, so thickly overgrown it can look almost like mist, about half the heights of the trees and and twining its way up, is the thing to root out. Yesterday I volunteered for Honeysuckle Removal Day at Bluebird Park. I'd never been there, but its name drew me, and I hate invasive honeysuckles too. Young people from colleges and prep schools were there en masse, and I worked with three young men who chopped, yanked and uprooted, while I pulled yards and yards of honeysuckle out of the grove of persimmon trees and put it at the curb for pickup. I honestly felt the trees thanking us. We cleared an area about the size of a living room, and after three hours we hadn't removed it all and there were some stalks (like the curved one on the left of the photo) too thick for anything but a chainsaw, but we had made a good start. Bluebird Park is a suburban park and I saw no bluebirds there, but I saw robins.

Tips from our leader: Remove honeysuckle shrubs by the roots if possible. When pulling their vines from the earth, pull out, not up. Cut the stalks as low on the trunks as you can, and the leader will come by and paint the stumps with Monsanto's Roundup, the only thing that kills 'em besides fire.

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