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Shrub Honeysuckle

March 2012

QuestionWe are searching for replacement evergreen trees where dead Leyland Cypress had been removed from our backyard. They had been a screen between our house and a neighbor. We would like to have something that won't get over 10 to 12 feet in height, that will remain green year-round and that will allow flowering plants between them and the front of the bed and still provide the screen against the chain link fence between houses. The bed is approximately 25 - 30 feet in length and 8 - 15 feet wide. The trees will face the South (our house faces East) so will get at least 6 hours of full sun daily. We would appreciate your suggestions for that space. We have seen so many evergreens labeled "emerald green arborvitae" but according to the information can grow as high as 60 feet and 6 - 8 feet wide. Can those that are said to grow so tall be trimmed back in height as they grow? Thank you for any information to assist us in making our decision.


AnswerIf all you want is a plant that gets 10-12 feet tall, then choose a plant that has that as its maximum height. Especially if you plant something like the green giant arborvitae that can reach 60 feet tall, you will have to constantly prune, which makes a large hedge a constant work in progress. Some better choices include the Nelly R Stevens holly, cleyera, winter honeysuckle, or even one of the loropetalum varieties. Some varieties grow taller than 12 feet, others much shorter.

April 2008

QuestionThere is this plant around Fayetteville that resembles honeysuckle but is a woody shrub rather than a vine. It grows like cancer, so without constant whacking it takes over the yard. Any way to get rid of it?


AnswerThe plant in question is Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica). It was actually introduced to this country for use as conservation plantings. They do an excellent job stabilizing slopes or preventing erosion, but the problem is that these plants readily spread beyond where they are planted. The plant produces berries which are attractive to over 17 species of birds for food, and this leads to the seed being spread literally everywhere. They can easily "take over" idle fields in a few years. Tartarian honeysuckle is a deciduous hard-wood shrub of medium height (8 to 15 feet). It is an erect, multi-stemmed plant, with slightly drooping branches. The growth rate is about 1 foot per year, and normally it does not bear fruit until the fourth or fifth year. The flowers are white to pink. The fruit matures in mid-summer. To control it you can either pull it out from the root system or cut it and then spray the cut end with a glyphosate (Round-up) product. It may take more than one treatment to kill an individual plant, and if you have fruiting plants nearby, you will continue to see new plants, so catch new seedlings early if possible.


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