The root docking approach involves cutting the roots away from the root collar and removing the root collar, trunk and branches of the plant, while leaving the roots in place. This approach has the following advantages and benefits over other methods:
- There are no tree stumps left behind for children or adults to trip over.
- The roots are left in the soil, allowing for minimal soil disturbance.
- There is no danger of or possibility of stumps re-sprouting. Re-sprouting takes place from the root collar, which is removed. Less follow up, therefore, is required, than with some other methods.
- With the appropriate tools, even the very largest honeysuckle plants can be removed using this method.
- This manual approach is low impact and does not cause soil compaction compared to when heavy machinery is brought in to remove honeysuckle.
- This manual approach is low impact compared to a chemical approach, which requires careful training of volunteers in the handling of chemicals, as well as unknown risks regarding impacts on people, plants, or soil.
- Chemicals require especially careful handling around water so that they don’t harm wildlife or non-targeted species. It has been documented that herbicides can harm some aquatic plants. Bush honeysuckle, in the Greater St. Louis region, is typically found along creek banks and riparian corridors. The root docking approach ensures the protection of water quality.