2018-03-07 / Front Page

Asian Bush Honeysuckle being cleared at DePauw Nature Park


Andrew Wright, Chase Sadler, and Henry the Nature Park mascot hauling a load of honeysuckle stems to the compost pile. (Courtesy Photo) Andrew Wright, Chase Sadler, and Henry the Nature Park mascot hauling a load of honeysuckle stems to the compost pile. (Courtesy Photo) Hello from the DePauw Nature Park!

Our featured plant this week is the Asian Bush Honeysuckle. It is easy to identify during the winter. Each plant has multiple stems growing out of its base. The stems are woody, light brown, and lined with dark vertical grooves. During the growing season, Honeysuckle produces small oval-shaped leaves and large white flowers. When we were children, we used to pick the flowers on the way to school and drink a drop of nectar out of the base of each flower.

These days, we no longer appreciate the sweet nectar of the Honeysuckle flowers. Instead, we are trying to get rid of it. It is a non-native invasive plant species that grows in dense patches along woodland edges. It outcompetes native plants, reduces habitat quality for birds and other wildlife, and increases abundance of ticks.

We have been working diligently to eradicate Honeysuckle in the DePauw Nature Park. We use loppers and chain saws to cut the stems. We apply an herbicide to the stumps to prevent the plants from resprouting, and we haul the brush to a compost pile. It is a big task, but will be very beneficial in the future.

We are very grateful to the many volunteers who have helped with this project. Henry, the Super Dog and Nature Park mascot, also helps by supervising our work, boosting our morale, and greeting visitors.

Next time you see us working on the trails in the Nature Park, feel free to stop and say hello. We will show you how to identify the plants and the tools we use for our project

The DePauw Nature Park is open every day; winter hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Spring hours start on Sunday, March 11 and are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

You can contact the main office by calling 765-658-1076 for more information.

(by Vanessa Fox, Nature Park Ecologist and Part-time professor of University Studies at DePauw)

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