Bush Honeysuckle

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by BlueCopper, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    The farm I hunt is about 26 acres and all of it is completely overrun with bush honeysuckle. Each year it gets worse and each year I see less and less deer. This year I decided enough is enough. I started just after bow season in January by cutting it down to the ground and spraying the stumps. Now that the sap is running I've stopped spraying and I'm pulling out all the 1 and 2 year old honeysuckle by hand. Once it greens up I'll start foliar spraying everything that I can reach. Some of this stuff is 15-20 feet tall! I was going to stop working for the year after the spring green up but its so bad that I'm considering carrying on into the early summer.

    Does anyone else have honeysuckle issues and if so how are you dealing with it? Its amazing how the property is opening up where I've been removing it. I'm hoping the native vegetation will begin growing again in the near future. This project may hurt me in the short term but I know it will help in the long run.
     
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  2. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    20180303_110605.jpg

    Here is an area I've been working in. Had some better pictures but it won't let me upload them for some reason.
     
  3. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    I have the crap on my property....strategically controlling right now, but will eradicate areas of it progressing forward but only when I can quickly replace it with native species of either bushes or native grasses.
     
  4. bassmasterjk

    bassmasterjk Weekend Warrior

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    My issue is what to plant in replace of the it. I've tried to manage small sections at a time, pulling the smaller ones, cutting spraying the larger ones. Its a long term project I'm continually working on..
     
  5. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    I've wondered about that myself. This is my first year working on this project so I don't know yet but I'm hoping some of the native vegetation will start to grow back when this honeysuckle is gone. Very slow going....
     
  6. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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  7. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    This is the area I'm working in today. I will post a more detailed update of my plans when i get home.
     
  8. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    Red=Current Stand Locations
    Blue=Access Points/Routes
    Green=Food Plot
    White=Property Lines

    Ok so here is my thought on this project. As I previously stated this property is about 25-30 acres. The timber is mostly pines and black walnut, neither of which are great for whitetails unfortunately. The entire property is completely overrun with bush honeysuckle. You can see from my last photo that its nearly an impenetrable wall at this point. Our deer sightings have dropped drastically since it really got bad. The last few years we see yearling bucks and the occasional doe and that's it.

    So far I have completely removed everything in the area outlined in orange. I don't want deer bedding in this area as I would only spook them while walking in. With the honeysuckle gone its pretty open and I don't expect the deer to want to spend much time there during daylight. Everything west of the food plot I have begun cutting all of the honeysuckle taller than about 8 feet. It has been cut to the ground and the stumps treated with a herbicide. The rest I plan to spray once it greens up and let it die in place. Just cutting the bigger plants is helping a great deal and by leaving the smaller stuff in place it should allow the area to stay a bit thicker. I'm hoping that the native plants will begin to grow back over the next couple years now that they have access to the sun.

    I only plan to hunt the stand on the north side of the property in the afternoon as I don't want to spook deer that might be in the field or in the food plot when I get there in the morning. It might still be a problem getting out in the evening without spooking deer but I'm not sure what else to do at this point. The stand on the southeast side I rarely hunt but it can be hunted in the morning or afternoon.

    Any comments or thoughts on improving this plan would be appreciated. Hunting Property.jpg
     
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  9. MK111

    MK111 Newb

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    That crap is a plague from hell. It grows on every square foot of my farm that is not in cattle pasture. I trim along my cattle fences and in my woods I cut it waste high so I can shoot over it out of my hunting towers. Deer love the new shoots and after couple hard frost all the leaves drop.
    I never tried planting in the area after getting rid of it. Since almost nothing grows under it when alive is there something in the soil to prevent new growth?
     
  10. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    I wish I could claim to be an expert on the stuff but I'm not. I can tell you that it greens up first and drops its leaves last which causes me to believe it simply shades out everything else. The bigger honeysuckle on my farm is probably 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Its like a desert underneath. And you're right, its like a plague from hell. I've got nearly 70 hours of work into this project since Jan 15th and I'm nowhere near done.
     
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  11. MK111

    MK111 Newb

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    On another hunting forum a guy who hunts state land only is in love with honeysckle for deer. He thinks it's heaven sent. Plus when he buys his own private land he wants to transplant honeysuckle onto his property. When I stated it was a plague from hell I was slammed as not knowing anything.
    Stupid is and stupid does.
     
  12. Zimboydevon

    Zimboydevon Weekend Warrior

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    We are on year 4 with our 1oo acre property in Southern PA.. 40 yrs ago it was 60% cattle pasture but was left to grow up.. when we first bought it I was excited about how thick it was as it was thicker than anything id ever seen... now we are slowly clearing the honeysuckle out piece by piece and I can tell you our hunting has gotten much better.. A lot of it was so thick the deer would not even go through. You wont regret getting rid of it.. Some of the cleared areas weve just left grow back in natural vegetation and some weve planted switchgrass...I think its an ongoing process that will prolly never get done
     
  13. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    I'm glad to hear your hunting has been getting better. That's what I'm hoping for although I'm not sure what to expect in the future. Have you had good luck with native plants growing back? I'm afraid the only thing to grow back will be new honeysuckle. I think I can clear the property in 3 years if I keep at it the way I have been. I know I'll have to keep coming back in to pull or spray the new growth but that I can deal with easy enough.
     
  14. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    I could see how native honeysuckle might be beneficial to the deer but bush honeysuckle is terrible stuff. Anybody who thinks otherwise simply doesn't have a big enough infestation of it yet. And if that's the case......they will soon.
     
  15. BlueCopper

    BlueCopper Weekend Warrior

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    Well I planted 4 apple trees yesterday in an area I recently cleared of honeysuckle. They are decent size already so hopefully I'll have apples in just a year or 2. Also checked out an area that I cleared just two weeks ago. Its a narrow ridge that runs north and south on the east side of the property. I haven't seen a deer track on that ridge in at least 5 years due to how thick it was. Now I can already see deer track everywhere and even found about 1/2 dozen beds in the fresh snow. Its great to be able to see all the work I've put in paying off already. I'm at 104 hours since the end of deer season. Probably going to call it quits for the year soon.
     

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