Missouri is now home to invasive honeysuckle from eastern Asia, which was introduced into North America in the mid-1800s for wildlife cover, landscaping, and as a solution for erosion. Honeysuckle leafs out early in the spring and remains green late into fall, giving it a competitive advantage over Missouri’s native plants. It also competes for soil moisture and nutrients, and may produce a chemical that inhibits native plant growth. In addition, honeysuckle spreads by its roots, resulting in the ability to further dominate an area. The resulting dense understory of honeysuckle greatly inhibits seedling establishment of native plants and consequently, forest regeneration. In fact, many fear that much of Missouri’s oak-hickory woodlands will be lost as a result of the honeysuckle invasion.
The City of Wildwood, in coordination with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), has initiated plans to eradicate invasive honeysuckle throughout the community, including City, County and State public property, as well as private property.
The City’s most direct role in managing invasive honeysuckle will occur in managing its own public lands, including City parks and roadsides. One of the most impacted City properties is Anniversary Park, located at the NW corner of Clayton Road and Strecker Road. During the Month of May 2017, honeysuckle will be removed from this 14-acre City-owned property, and will continue to be treated on an annual basis to limit new growth. This work will be 50% funded through an MDC grant.
In addition to this initial project in Anniversary Park, this City has the following future projects planned as well:
- Community Park – Fall 2017 MDC Cost-Share Project
- Bluff View / Rock Hollow Trail Corridors – Spring/Fall 2018 MDC Cost-Share Project
- City-wide Roadside Corridors – Multi-year MDC Cost-Share Project 2018-2019
- Other County and State public lands – ongoing support of community service projects, under the management of other County and State agencies.
Annual Honeysuckle Eradication Day (2nd Saturday of September):
A community-wide event will be planned for the 2nd Saturday of September each year, where individual property owners and volunteer groups take time to eradicate honeysuckle throughout the City. As late-summer is the ideal time to conduct the stump cutting treatment method for much of the mature honeysuckle throughout the community, this weekend has been selected for this annual event. The 2017 event will be held on Saturday, September 9th, and more details will be announced later this summer. Other community-wide efforts may be planned at other times of the year as well.
Resources for Property Owners:
A large portion of Wildwood’s invasive honeysuckle is located on private property, and individual property owners can refer to the publication, A Landowner’s Guide to Controlling Bush Honeysuckle in the St. Louis Region, for advice on different treatment options. Additionally, MDC has grant funding available to private land-owners, which generally requires a minimum of ten (10) acres, but with the ability to combine adjacent properties to reach a total of ten (10) acres. Inquiries regarding grant funding can be directed to Josh Ward at MDC at (314) 301-1506, ext. 4213 or Josh.Ward@mdc.mo.gov.