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Honeysuckle Bush Shoots

Question:

What are the shoots that grow out from a honeysuckle bush this time of year?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Buttercup from MI

Answer:

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These broom-like shoots are the result of damage caused by the feeding of wooly honeysuckle aphids. The feeding aphids injure new growth, causing it to become discolored and curl.

The honeysuckle bush responds by sending out new side shoots and tufts of leaves at the ends of the damaged branches. These branches typically see only a few inches of growth during the season and are also likely to succumb to similar injuries.

As the side shoots die off during the winter, the "witches broom" effect they create becomes more noticeable. Plant scientists are still uncertain as to whether the damage is actually caused by the aphids themselves or by a plant pathogen the aphids carry.

Damage is usually only aesthetic and is limited to the honeysuckle bush (the honeysuckle bush serves as the only host to this particular type of aphid).

To control minor infestations, tufts can be removed by clipping them off as they appear. For heavy or reoccurring infestations, periodically spray the bush with water to remove the aphids or apply an insecticidal soap in the early spring.

Ellen

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.

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August 18, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Possibly something called witches brooms...many small clumps of leaves. They are the result of aphids feeding on new growth and stimulating the plant to grow in this manner. Too many and the bush may ultimately die. It is best to prune them out as soon as they are observed.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 7, 20060 found this helpful

I'm about to cut down a 40 yr. old old-fashioned Honeysuckle bush because my Bradford Pear got so tall that the Honeysuckle gets no sun and is too scraggly with few leaves, (but has NEVER had a sign

of any sort of pest, much less aphids. Perhaps the older varieties just aren't affected?) I had the bushes

turn wild on me at another home and took over the cyclone fence and anything else they could reach. I

vowed I'd never have another one for that reason, but since this one came with the new home, was easy to keep in place and trim back to a 4' bush, blooming it's heart out until the Bradford Pear did it's maturing, I kept it until now. It's just time to let it go, since it requires sun to bloom/leaf, offers NOTHING of beauty and value, is too old to move or dig from among roots of a 10 yr. old Crepe Myrtle near it, and from the roots of the Bradford Pear. It's just too common looking, sort of like my Japanese Privit Tree farther away. Across the driveway from it is a magnificent stand of healthy white blooming fragrant Jasmine, which withstands the toughest of conditions where it's planted next to a family of 20 yr. old Century Plant Agave-like specimen, and all of it grows without added water since I've Zeriscaped for so many years. It was one of the best things I ever did because of the water-savings and weed elimination!

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My bush never had side shoots, only new growth

from last year's growth. Now, it's about over for it. I

will plant nothing in it's place because there is enough there now, with a Red Cactus in front which

also requires NO care and sends out lovely red flowers on long spikes faithfully all year long. The combination of these things was hardly planned, but really works well for less care and interesting blooms

together. Hope your's gets well and has lots of sun.

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