Fall is the time for invasive plant removal

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Fall is a perfect time of year to address some of the invasive plants that may live on your property.

There are many invasive plants in our region, and the easiest to identify this time of year are also two of the worst: bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and privet (Ligustrum sinense). Both plants are full of berries, which is an excellent way to identify them and remove them before the berries become a new plant.

Bush honeysuckle has bright red berries appearing at the junction where leaves meet the branches. Privets produce drupes, which are different types of fruit, but for identification purposes, the term “berries” is used. The berries from privet are blue to black and contain several seeds in each berry. Both shrubs are the last to lose their leaves in the fall, and hang on to their berries through early winter.

Bush honeysuckle and privet are aggressive and out-compete native plants, which reduces native wildlife habitat. The berries from privet and bush honeysuckle offer low nutritional value for birds compared to native shrubs. Thickets of bush honeysuckle and privet make it hard to enjoy our woodlands while hiking, birding and other outdoor activities.

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