Bittersweet conclusion

Invasive bittersweet: stem and berries

Now that the pond tour is over, I decided to finally remove the invasive Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) that I mistakenly planted a couple of years ago.  I was planning to do it at some point, but Beth Botts’ post about invasive species recently banned in Chicago – including C. orbiculatus – got me moving.  Well, that and all the bittersweet fruits that were forming!

Before: invasive and native bittersweet

I have tried to prune the C. orbiculatus (the bushy stuff on the left half of each of the two trellis panels) back a couple of times this year, but this only seemed to provoke greater growth.  My native C. scandens (on the right half of each trellis panel) is growing really well, but is still sort of puny compared to the much older invasive.

After: invasive bittersweet is gone

A good hour of work with pruners, loppers, and a shovel (for the top foot of roots) later, it’s all gone and C. scandens has sole possession of the trellis. (Pretty impressive growth for something I planted only a year ago!) Since the old stuff is an invasive species and very woody, I skipped my lazy compost pile and put everything in a bag for municipal composting.  That should be hot enough to kill all those berries that the C. orbiculatus was growing.

Update: puny no more!


5 responses to this post.

  1. […] The C. orbiculatus is gone!   Comments […]


  2. That bittersweet is on Ann Arbor’s invasives list, too. I hope it doesn’t resprout, but good for you for removing it!


  3. Posted by lakechicagoshores on August 5, 2009 at 9:28 am

    It’s in a pretty small bed, and now I’m an expert in spotting the differences between the two types of bittersweet. I figure it’s just like the tree of heaven we removed – there will be a couple of years of sprout scouting!


  4. Ouch! Your post gave me flashbacks to the time a few years ago that I had to do the same operation.

    You’re right about being watchful for the sprouts. I’m still pulling out some and my neighbor’s tree of heaven seedlings as well.


  5. […] puny, it’s in bloom!  Both plants have overtopped the trellis, and it’s only May.  As Monica predicted, there were some sprouts from the old invasive bittersweet C. orbiculatus, but the darker and […]


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