As I mentioned back in my November 4th entry, we’d been contemplating getting a Honeysuckle Popper to help with our bush honeysuckle and forsythia removal. Well, we decided to invest in one! It was sent out quickly, arrived promptly, and we were able to test it today.
Now, in case you’re wondering, the honeysuckle we’re trying to remove is bush honeysuckle. This is not the honeysuckle vines with the awesome-smelling flowers. I love those and definitely wouldn’t get rid of them if we actually had any at Starview (which we unfortunately do not)! Bush honeysuckle is something entirely different – it’s an invasive plant that crowds out native species and totally takes over. If you don’t believe that, come to Starview with us, and I’ll show you all of the bush honeysuckle we have on our 4+ acres!
We also wanted to use it to get rid of forsythia roots. While forsythia isn’t considered an invasive plant, it grows/spreads quickly, gets out of hand easily, and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We do want to keep some of it (the stuff that is creating a “natural fence” for us along the road), but there are large patches that are serving no real purpose and are just taking up space that could be part of our backyard.
We’ve been able to clear out much of this brush, as shown in previous entries, by using hedge trimmers (Husqvarna) on the very thin stuff and loppers on the larger parts. Dave has been running it through the chipper/shredder, which is still working perfectly and keeping up with an insane amount of brush! This combination of clearing methods is great, except for one thing – the roots! To get rid of bush honeysuckle or forsythia roots, you either need a small backhoe (the easy way) or a mattock, a lot of time and energy, and persistence. We had been using the latter method, digging around the roots with a mattock until we could get it underneath and then trying to pry up the roots. The biggest problem with this method is that most of the plants we’re working with are probably at least a decade old. They’re huge, well-established root systems that snake under the ground, crossing each other and creating a huge underground “root carpet” of sorts.
We’d known about the Honeysuckle Popper for a couple of years but had decided to wait to get one until we actually started doing some major brush clearing…in other words, now. Ordering was easy on their website, and service was prompt. We paid with PayPal, ordered late on a Saturday evening, and received the Popper the following Thursday. It’s definitely a large and heavy tool (6’4″ long and 27 lbs, according to their website) and is a little unwieldy at first. Once you get the hang of it, it works very well, especially on the bush honeysuckle. The forsythia took a little bit more work, as their root systems are designed differently, but it ended up working well on those, too.
I won’t lie, it’s pretty hefty work, especially if you’re as out-of-shape as we are! We were pretty easily winded by this, but then again, these roots were very old, large, and well-established. The smaller ones were much easier and worked basically as shown on the website. The older ones took several tries, but we were even able to remove a massive one (forsythia) that wouldn’t even begin to budge with the mattock last weekend.
So, was it worth it and did the Honeysuckle Popper work as advertised? I’d say yes on both counts. I would recommend it to anyone who needs to remove bush honeysuckle or any of the other plants listed on the website. I’d even recommend it for forsythia, although it takes a few tries with the larger roots.
Here’s a comparison that should help explain things even further – this first photo is of the roots we removed by hand using a mattock, plus lots of elbow grease and energy.
And these are the roots we removed with the Honeysuckle Popper (the red tool in the foreground of the photo) just in the span of a few hours, and only sporadically, as we were also clearing brush and running the chipper. Quite a difference, as you can see! Some of these roots were well over a foot wide.
(The brush pile in the background was stuff I cleared today with the loppers – Dave later fed it all through the chipper, so it’s gone now.)
This one was my pride and joy…because I did this one by myself, and it was my first one! This is bush honeysuckle, btw. (Dave did help pull it out once I got it out of the ground with the Popper.) So even though they show a “junior” version of the Popper on their website, even us short chicks can manage to wrangle the regular-sized Popper enough to get rid of roots like this one!
We still have lots of roots to remove, but the Honeysuckle Popper will definitely help!