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How to prune a honeysuckle bush

Updated April 17, 2017

There are two types of honeysuckle -- bush honeysuckle and vine-like plants. The bush variety is often found in gardens, whereas the wild plants grow more commonly in woodland. This deciduous shrub blooms from April until June and will usually get to a height of 4.6 metres (15 feet). Its sweet-smelling flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies throughout its blooming season, and it makes an attractive hedge for any garden. Pruning a honeysuckle bush is very basic, requiring a sharp pair of cutters and a few minutes of your time.

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Prune as soon as the blooming period is over, usually the end of June, no later than mid-July. A honeysuckle bush blooms on last year's growth, or, as it's called, "old wood." New growth will begin to appear right after pruning through early spring, therefore it's important not to prune this bush in the winter or early spring, which cuts away the growth necessary for it to bloom.

Cut at 45 degrees, cutting downwards diagonally. Make the cut about 125 cm (1/4 inch) in front of the bud, which allows water to run off the cut area and keeps disease and rot from forming. Do not cut any further away from the bud or you will create a stump. Use well-sharpened pruning shears or clippers to avoid tearing the delicate branches.

Cut away old dead wood any time of the year. This does not affect the blooming period. Cut the dead wood clear down to ground level; do not leave a stump.

Prune severely every couple of years to encourage lots of new growth. To do this, prune back to the last bud on each branch, cutting back the branches fairly low to the ground. Prune at the end of summer at the latest to allow time for new growth to form on the bush. There may be fewer blooms that spring, but the following year will see an abundance of blooms.

Warning

Do not try to grow the vine-like variety as it becomes like a weed that is hard to get rid of.

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About the Author

Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.

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