Are you struggling with the fast-growing vines of Oriental Bittersweet? Here's how to turn this problem into a solution without harsh chemicals.
The problem with Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is that it girdles trees and grows quickly. It can spread by the berries and cuttings.
In this episode of the Prosperity Homestead podcast, I cover a holistic way to remove Oriental bittersweet. Follow these steps to remove this invasive plant forever.
The manual way takes time. Yet, with this approach, you gain multiple benefits. Be patient to work with nature rather than against it. What do you think of this method?
Handling Invasive Plants in a Holistic Way Multiplies Your Blessings
You don't need to cultivate the weed. Every aspect of nature grows something; many blessings come from idle land when you know what you're looking at.
In the case of invasive plants, removal is necessary. Oriental bittersweet girdles healthy trees and out-compete native beneficial species.
There are many benefits to using holistic invasive plant removal techniques. A holistic or ecologically sound solution eliminates problems with limited side effects.
- Turn fast-growing invasive plants into a protein source. Livestock pressure removes the invasive plant while lowering feed costs.
- Cultivate natural native forage for wildlife and birds. Replace the invasive plant with curated food sources that attract wildlife.
- Open up habitat for more desirable plants or crops. Removing the invasive gives natural seed banks a chance for regrowth.
- Preserve timberland and wildlife habitat. Vining invasive reduces photosynthesis, which slows tree growth.
- A reversible approach without residual harm. Using herbicides builds up chemicals that harm soil biology and human interaction.
The biggest blessing is clean and healthy environments. A healthy soil biology means fast regrowth. You are more likely to have beneficial plants with less effort.
NOTE: The Oriental bittersweet is easily confused with less invasive native American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). The native cousin is becoming less and less common. Be careful with your removal approach.
How to Identify the American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)
With all the excitement to remove an invasive species, be careful not to kill the increasingly rare American bittersweet. A cousin to the Oriental bittersweet with similar herbal value.
American bittersweet produces flowers (and fruits) in single terminal panicles at the tips of the stems; flower panicles and fruit clusters are about as long as the leaves; the leaves are nearly twice as long as wide and are tapered at each end.
Oriental bittersweet produces flowers in small axillary clusters that are shorter than the subtending leaves, and the leaves are very rounded.
Comparing the two, American bittersweet has fewer, larger clusters of fruits, whereas Oriental bittersweet is a prolific fruiter with many fruit clusters emerging at many points along the stem.
Unfortunately, hybrids of the two occur, which may make identification more difficult. This is why I don't recommend spray and pray.
A holistic approach brings you out more often over the seasons to see variations of the plant. Because you are not destroying soil or applying herbicide, you can stop treatment if harm comes to a native plant.
If you want to get more from your small farm, homestead, or estate, … Justin Hitt is a Permaculture Design Consultant with more than two decades of experience with organic gardening. He teaches the practical application of critical thinking, entrepreneurial ecology, and homestead management. Practical insights for practitioners, estate owners, and homesteaders. To see if his insights are right for you, join our free newsletter.