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

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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

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