As a Minnesota resident, you may have heard of buckthorn, but how much do you actually know about it? By having a better understanding of the invasive shrub and being able to spot it as a seedling, your property has a chance to thrive without threat. If you suspect that buckthorn is growing on your property, remove it sooner than later… before it becomes a real nuisance. We’ve provided a short overview of what you need to know about buckthorn including its physical traits and why it’s a problem for homeowners in Minnesota.
What is buckthorn?
Buckthorn is native to Europe and was brought to the U.S. (and Minnesota) in the 1800s. When it was first introduced it was commonly used for hedging. It is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 25 feet in height and has a dense crown. Several stems shoot up from the base of the shrub, which leafs out in spring and keeps its leaves through the fall. Even as a seedling, buckthorn will have several stems and bright green, oval leaves. It also has pea-sized berries that are very dark.
Why is buckthorn an issue?
Buckthorn is an invasive species that can out-compete native Minnesota plants for the resources they need to thrive. Unlike native plants, buckthorn is difficult to contain. It threatens the livelihood of not only our native forestry, but our wildlife as well. It can also serve as a host to pests including crown rust fungus and soybean aphid.
Oh, that sounds bad. What is the buckthorn removal process?
Buckthorn removal can be a multi-year process. For smaller shrubs, you can pull these out by hand when the soil is moist. If the shrub is larger and more mature, you can cut it then treat it with herbicide. If you are removing the stump, call before you dig (800-252-1166 in Minnesota) to check for underground utilities. After you’ve removed the buckthorn, make sure it is given time to dry out and remove its fruit to reduce the chance of it spreading or reappearing.
When is the best time for buckthorn removal?
If you plan on cutting and treating the stump, late summer or fall is the best time for buckthorn removal. When using an herbicide, be sure to read the label instructions (even before you purchase the herbicide) to ensure that what you’ve chosen is the best solution for the removal. You will need to keep up with the control regularly to ensure that the buckthorn doesn’t come back.
Is there anyone I can call to perform the buckthorn removal?
We thought you’d never ask. Ostvig Tree Care offers buckthorn removal, combining a number of methods to help you get rid of it quickly and effectively. Contact us today for a free consultation.