En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 26, 2009

From: Westerville, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Care of Northern honeysuckle bush
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a honeysuckle bush, I have had it for about year to two years. I would like to know if I should cut the brown parts off. There are some vines that do not look good, but some of the branches have green growing on them. I just would like to know how to better care for my bush, if I should trim it up or what. Please help, before my husband gets to it.

ANSWER:

We are assuming that you have Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), which is native to Ohio. It is deciduous,  forms thickets by suckerinig, and is short-lived. You can follow the link above and learn more about it, including the fact that it is a low water use plant, and needs shade (less than 2 hours of sun daily) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) to thrive. Without more information about possible insect infestation or other environmental problems, we can't say what is causing the browning of some of the branches. However, most woody plants will benefit from some trimming up. Any vine that is detracting from the appearance by looking brown or straggly can be clipped off, right at the ground, if you wish. Dead ends can easily be pruned off below the dead area. Most woody plants will come back fuller and more vigorous after a good pruning. For further information and pictures, see this Connecticut Botanical Society website Diervilla lonicera.

 

From the Image Gallery


Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

More Pruning Questions

Repairing damage to Anacacho Orchid Tree in Austin
April 30, 2008 - Hi You Guys!! We have an understory Anacacho Orchid Tree in the front and my sweetie was trimming the big oak and dropped a branch down, splitting one of the large branches off the Anacacho. The wou...
view the full question and answer

Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
December 19, 2011 - A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?
view the full question and answer

Pruning practices from Austin
May 16, 2013 - I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin o...
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor ivy from Carollton TX
January 26, 2012 - I have an indoor ivy that is on a pole. The pole is breaking, and I need to separate the ivy from the pole with the least amount of trauma to the plant. How should I do this? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Cutting Juncus effusus back from Bellevue WA
November 18, 2010 - I read your posts about Juncus effusus and just have one follow-up question. When is the best time to cut them back to the ground - before winter or early spring? I live in the Pacific NW. I recent...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center