A First Look at a Lonicera Nitida

The dwarf hedging Honeysuckle featured in this post was an established shrub in the garden when I moved here four years ago.  Like many other items, I presume it was first planted over 30 years ago when the house was built.  It was a bit of an untidy eyesore where it was so I dug it up three years ago and left it in a plastic tray.  It has pretty much grown unhindered since then except for one occasion when I removed a lot of foliage to see what there was underneath to work with.  At that time I decided to chop each of the trunks as well.

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After chopping in autumn 2012

Last week I decided it was finally time to look at the roots and see if there is anything worth persevering with.  First, a before shot.

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Feb 15 – before work

First thing I did was remove the container and saw that it had grown well over the last two years and in need of root pruning.

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I combed the root mass and removed heavy roots.  Then removed a lot of suckers that were obscuring the lower trunks.  I decided not to keep the two short and straight trunks and was then left with three to work with.

DSC_0726I had to remove quite a bit of heavy root that had fed the removed trunks and even found the original garden centre label for the plant.  The roots had nearly swallowed it up over the years! Couldn’t remove all of the label so it’s still in there.  I had a pot in mind for this piece of material as I’ve been fed up just looking at it in a plain plastic box.  Had to remove more heavy root than I would have liked to get it in but now I think I could have the beginnings of a nice image.

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Best front for nebari

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Reverse side

Quite a few issues with this material though.  Two of the trunks are very straight with little taper.  All of the trunk apexes lean towards the back which has the large root chop.  If I can carve this chop to make a hollow lower trunk image it might work.  Another issue is that the thinnest trunk is not the shortest so I may chop it to become the shortest at some point in the future.  I’m not making many plans yet.  I’ll see how or if the tree recovers from this work.  I placed moss on the surface to prevent a lot of fine, exposed roots drying out.  It also looks better immediately.

Shots from each side:

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I was quite fortunate to have this pot ready as it came in a different tree a few years ago.  I think it’s a great match.  I’ll let the tree recover this year and, health permitting, wire primary branches in the autumn. Lots more foliage needed to disguise those very straight trunks!

Before and after:

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