Battling buckthorn

All that’s green isn’t glorious. Buckthorn leaves remain green long after native shrubs fade to brown and drop their leaves. 

Late fall to early winter is a good time to remove buckthorn. It’s easy to spot the shiny, egg-shaped leaves on seedlings and mature plants, which can grow up to 25 feet tall. The larger plants (two inches or more at the base of the trunk) must be cut and treated with a proper herbicide application. Small buckthorn shoots can be pulled by hand, especially after a rain. 

Areas cleared of buckthorn need to be replanted with native flowers, grasses, shrubs or trees. Buckthorn seeds can sprout and grow for three years. Removal is a multiyear commitment to cut (or pull), treat and replace.

Still, the benefits of buckthorn removal are worth the effort. Left unchecked, buckthorn crowds out native plants, degrades wildlife habitat and dominates woodlands. 

To learn more visit blm.mn/steward or call 952-563-8730