On Wednesday December 9, 2020, the Open Space Council hosted a hands-on training workshop on Root Docking, a manual approach to removing invasive bush honeysuckle. Participants learned about the advantages and benefits of the root docking method, how to properly and safely use the tools needed to conduct root docking, and then had the opportunity to practice the method in the field on the Meramec Greenway – Al Foster Trail.
A common method to remove honeysuckle involves cutting off its branches and dabbing the stem with herbicide to prevent re-growth. In contrast, the root docking involves cutting away the invasive honeysuckle plant’s roots from its crown and removing the crown, trunk and branches of the plant, while leaving the roots in place. Since regrowth occurs from the crown, this method eliminates the possibility of regrowth and thus the need for herbicide.
Open Space Council volunteers have worked on the Al Foster Trail for several years, removing invasive honeysuckle with the common method of cutting and treating honeysuckle stumps with herbicide. Workshop participants continued these invasive honeysuckle efforts along the Al Foster Trail, using the root docking method to remove maturing honeysuckle plants as well as plants showing regrowth from previous workdays. During the workshop, participants piled up cut honeysuckle between trees, which will form songbird habitat as the plants decompose.
Special thanks to our partners for supporting this worksop: The City of Wildwood, Great Rivers Greenway District, the L-A-D Foundation, Missouri State Parks, St. Louis County Parks and Open Space Council members.
See photos from the workshop below: