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Bloomington Briefing

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Get rid of buckthorn

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Bloomington Briefing Published November 1, 2021
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Buckthorn is an invasive species that prevents native plants from thriving.

Buckthorn is an invasive species that prevents native plants from thriving. Fall is the best time to get rid of buckthorn, because it is easier to identify it. In late October, after native foliage has gone dormant, leaves on buckthorn typically stay green. Methods to get rid buckthorn include non-chemical and chemical options. 

Non-chemical treatment

Small buckthorn seedlings and trees can be pulled by hand or with tools such as a shovel or a weed wrench. A weed wrench is a manually operated tool that clamps onto a stem up to three inches in diameter and operates as a lever to uproot plants. Residents can rent a weed wrench from Public Works for free. Removing by hand is easier when the soil is moist. Large diameter buckthorn stems can be cut at the stump with a chainsaw, brush cutter or other hand tool. After cutting, cover the stump with a tin can or black plastic to prevent future sprouting.

Before digging out buckthorn roots, call 811, or visit gopherstateonecall.org a few days ahead to allow time for public utilities to be marked. 

Chemical treatment

Chemicals should be considered only if pulling individual plants is impractical, such as with larger-diameter buckthorn stems. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends using herbicides containing glyphosate or triclopyr for buckthorn control. Check with your local garden center or hardware store for recommendations on effective weed killers for buckthorn. Always follow label directions when using herbicides, wear recommended protective clothing and avoid contact with
other plants.

Disposing of buckthorn

The City’s yard waste program allows residents to dispose of buckthorn. Residents may also call a tree service company, or bring the buckthorn to a collection site. Learn more at blm.mn/buckthorn or watch a video about buckthorn removal at blm.mn/bustbuckthorn. For questions, call 952-563-8760.

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