Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
March 26, 2009 - We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
view the full question and answer

Late winter pruning of native Texas Sage
January 27, 2005 - I have several Texas Sage bushes that have started to get very woody and have growth only on the top. This seems to have led to a definite listing to one side. Should I trim these to the ground or...
view the full question and answer

Southern Magnolia Damaged by Deer
April 16, 2015 - I have a young Southern Magnolia (about 6 feet tall) that was damaged by deer on the main trunk. The bottom 2 feet looks okay, but where they damaged it and tore branches off, and above that, the leav...
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
May 11, 2009 - I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.