Amur Honeysuckle

PA_Penjing

Chumono
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I collected a lonicera maackii this spring to play around with. They are the dominant species in every greenway/rail trail/canal path in my county. They are an aggressively invasive bush honeysuckle from China that is able to out compete the native groundcover because it begins growing in late February or early March to get an edge. Almost all of the info I come across is about killing them or what sites they won't over run, so not much in the way of bonsai cultivation. Despite a library of Chinese penjing books and subscriptions to many Chinese penjing nursery owners on Youtube, I have never seen the species used. Which is probably a sign that I shouldn't bother, but here I am. From what I've experienced they dont have taproots (or any vertical root growth what so ever) so they can be collected with a pair of loppers in 2 minutes. Just cutting through the horizontal surface roots. Below is a photo of what they all seem to look like upon collection.
image1 (9).jpeg

So right off the bat (in super limited experience) the good qualities of the species seem to be...
Great nebari always
Terrific root flair
Can be collected 12 months out of the year
Collection or removal is helping the environment
Where ever there is a leaf there is a flower/berry

So far the negatives seem to be
Only bud at nodes like a JM
potential for large internodes, probably because of shady habitat
new growth is hollow and brittle once lignified
Push shoots/buds prolifically from the base, especially when young (to the point that I would only dig mature specimens in the future)
Leaf size is medium but no idea if it will reduce

Jim Doyle told me that the branches take forever to thicken, so it's probably worth it to collect something with that in mind. I have read that they like dryer soil, and that's about what I know as far as bonsai culture goes. The honeysuckle in the photo was collected March 25th, I put it in the smallest pot I could fit it in since my goal is tight internodes for future branching. I realize that this guy is nothing special but I'm experimenting on it before I collect something with nice deadwood. I don't want to waste my time if this is dead end, which it probably is. So far I have bud pinched/shoot selected twice. pruned once (to see what happens) and wired, unwired and rewired the tree. Seems like the first two internodes come out at a usable distance, so I assume I'll be building brnaches one internode at a time. But with 9 months of growing it should go faster than anything else on my bench. So it's definitely a fun experiment for someone with a small collection or busy hands. I can't imagine trying to use this species with a hands off approach. I'm letting the left leader take off and trying to slow the right for a difference in size of the mint trunk. I see an eventual mother-daughter style around 30 to 36 inches tall. Ben or "appalachian bonsai" has a great collected maackii that he posted on every year or so if you want to see a decent looking one. But thats about the extent of what i've seen online. Below is a current photo, about 5 weeks after collection.
image0 (16).jpeg
Lastly, please ignore the wiring job, its growing far too quickly right now to bother with tight wiring, I almost killed the apex a few days ago. I'm just loosely directing the soft new growth. If you have tips on the species please let me know. Or if I have have said anything that is flat out wrong, tell me that too.
 
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@PA_Penjing I'm eager to see what comes of your experiment since I have a backyard full of these 'wild honeysuckle'. If I look away from them for a minute they have grown three feet LOL Hard for the average homeowner to keep them in check unless one applies scorched earth policies, which I don't like to do.
 

PA_Penjing

Chumono
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@PA_Penjing I'm eager to see what comes of your experiment since I have a backyard full of these 'wild honeysuckle'. If I look away from them for a minute they have grown three feet LOL Hard for the average homeowner to keep them in check unless one applies scorched earth policies, which I don't like to do.
They're wild, I was told once that a tree only grows from the tips, as in what has grown already does not change. But I'm finding that 10 to 14 days after wiring the branches are "pinching" out of the wire coils. Hard to explain but it means the distance between the internodes is still lengthening (I assume) after many sets of leaves have been grown. I'm explaining it terribly But I'll snap a photo next time.

i'm actually having a lot of fun with it. I've wired it again since I posted this. Definitely definitely definitely would have collected a larger trunk if I had known. I think the large coarse open soil is prompting vigorous growth too. Next time I'll go big with the trunk and small with the soil particle. Maybe this Monday...
 

Jaymatsby

Seedling
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Looks like a great start! I've found they develop very fast, sometimes too fast. If you let them grow they can thicken up amazingly fast. If you check my profile, I have a thread on a massive one I connected last year that has developed very quickly from just letting it rock as much as possible
 

PA_Penjing

Chumono
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These can be fun, especially if you find some good base to begin with, and not a huge trunk. The love to sucker, and I rarely have heavily pruned shoots develop over a longer time.
Damn how big is that? And does it flower? If I can get away with going smaller I absolutely will
 

skot

Seedling
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Damn how big is that? And does it flower? If I can get away with going smaller I absolutely will

That's a 6 inch wide pot I believe. I haven't had flowers on this one yet. I think it only flowers on last years branches, and this one has new branches from suckers more than long term branches.
 

PA_Penjing

Chumono
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That's a 6 inch wide pot I believe. I haven't had flowers on this one yet. I think it only flowers on last years branches, and this one has new branches from suckers more than long term branches.
that's a bummer, if this thing is going to be stingy with flowers i won't have it long
 

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