Question of the Week
How can I remove invasive species (primarily bush honeysuckle) in order to prepare land for crop and orchard production?
Answer: Though bush honeysuckle is very invasive, it's generally only difficult to eliminate from a "natural" environment. In a cropping environment, where bushes are repeatedly mowed, grazed, plowed, etc., they generally don't last long. The key is simply knocking the top growth back to exhaust energy reserves in the roots. You can accomplish this with grazing by goats or sheep (they love honeysuckle, and it is nutritious), burning, brush-hogging, dozing, or even heavy applications of horticultural oil. Though all these methods will result in some grow-back, simply do it again once or twice more, and you will probably have eliminated the problem. You can always pull them out with chains and tractor power, but doing so is often unnecessary.
For more information, you should find two ATTRA publications helpful.
Principles of Sustainable Weed Management for Croplands discusses several alternatives to conventional tillage systems, including allelopathy, intercropping, crop rotations, and a weed-free cropping design. It is available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=109.
Tree Fruits: Organic Production Overview is only partly about weed control, but it does include a lot of planning and pre-plant information. It is available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=2.
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