Cleanup: part 4 -- long overdue!

Again without much time I decided to tackle a job that I've put off for years: pruning the honeysuckle vine. This is one of my first additions to my garden, and was planted in 2002 I believe.

(2 summers ago, 2008)

Guess how many times it's been pruned? None. Zero. Oh, I may have cut a vine or two at some time, but it's never really been reduced -- I've just let it get bigger and bigger. It's starting to show now, as there's a lot of undergrowth that's dead, and the top is just a mass of tangled, twisted, coiled vines.



The birds love it though, as it provides them plenty of protection. We've seen hawks land on top of the mass trying to figure out how to get at the birds all twittering inside it.

We also had these guys living in it one summer:


...but that's a story for another time.

By chopping off a lot of the growth, I hope to invigorate the plant to fill out and look better. Since I've not done this before, I'm not sure what the result will be, but I think it's a tough vine and can take the pruning. Here's what it looks like:


I'm not sure what the correct way to prune this is, but there's no way I can remove any of the main vines, as they're too intertwined, and there's chicken wire involved there too:


Yikes. So we'll get out the ladder and start chopping away at the top. There are a lot of viney "ropes" up there, and that looks like a good place to start.


I'm basically grabbing a bunch and pulling as much as I can without falling off the ladder, then cutting any vines that are connecting the bunch I'm holding to the plant.

(I took this photo while on the ground. Safety first!)

So it's grab, pull, and cut. Grab, pull, cut. Over and over. Cut vines are starting to pile up:


Just keep going... move the ladder around... grab, pull, cut...


Before you know it, you're finished! Plus you're standing in a big pile of cut vines. I think I removed at least 50% of the plant. Hope that's not too much, but we'll see in a couple of weeks.


I've been thinking about pulling this vine out completely and replacing it with a "better" variety of honeysuckle. Better how? This one is called 'Mandarin' honeysuckle. It's supposed to be fragrant -- it's not. It's supposed to flower all summer -- it doesn't, except for a couple of blooms now and then after the first flush of flowers.

After seeing how thick and entwined it is though, I think I'm sticking with it for a few more years at least.

How long did it take? 45 minutes
Total time spent on clean-up so far this year: 4:15 (4 hours 15 minutes)

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Lynn M.  – (August 15, 2015 at 4:23 PM)  

What type of trellis is this growing up? It's unique with its up and out shape.

Lynn M.  – (August 15, 2015 at 4:26 PM)  

I didn't page down far enough, oopps. You can delete my comment... Lynn :-))

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