There are 2 species of a group of plants known as buckthorn that have and are continuing to cause big problems in Minnesota and other parts of the United States. They are common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula).
Common and glossy buckthorn are both non-native, invasive species. They were introduced to the U.S. in the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s. They both grow naturally in parts of Europe and Asia. The following summarizes the many reasons they are such a problem:
- They are extremely invasive.
- They out-compete native trees and shrubs.
- They lower the diversity of a given area.
- They are unappealing to the eye.
- It’s bad for wildlife such as birds; birds don’t prefer eating the berries, but will if they’re the only food choice; berries cause problem to digestive system for birds.
- It tends to be timely, expensive, and a challenge to remove and eliminate from a given area.
Despite the challenge, it’s important to take the appropriate action(s) to remove buckthorn. More often than not, a lot of hard work is involved. The keys to a successful abatement of buckthorn are effort and persistency. If it’s worth protecting or restoring an area with native plant material, it’s definitely worth putting in the effort. The end result of a successful effort will produce many benefits.