14298 60th Street Stillwater, MN 55082

The War On Buckthorn

Paint cut stumps with 8% Triclopyr.

Monday, April 11 | Gardening Info

An Invasive Species:

Introduced into the Upper-Midwest during the mid-1800s as an ornamental specimen plant, Buckthorn has become one of the most common invasive plant species in Minnesota.  The common or European buckthorn and the glossy buckthorn reseed themselves so prolifically that they effectively choke out many native understory plant species.  The dominance of buckthorn leads to a lack of wildlife diversity by limiting the types of available habitat and food sources.  Removal of buckthorn allows the return of native plant species and the animals that depend on them.  



Effective removal of buckthorn can prove daunting.  Destruction of the plants’ roots is crucial to prevent regrowth.  Buckthorn roots can regrow and begin producing seeds in as little as four years.  When clearing a site of buckthorn, use a hoe to uproot and kill seedlings or your hands to pull small saplings.  Larger plants should be cut down and the stumps chemically treated to kill the roots.  Generously apply herbicide directly to the freshly cut stump with a paint brush.  Herbicide concentrates containing 8% Triclopyr are extremely effective at preventing buckthorn regrowth.  Glyphosate concentrates are also effective on cut stumps. 



Once your site is clear, consider reintroducing native plants such as cedars, alder, viburnums, dogwood or serviceberry.  These species provide food and habitat while allowing tree seedlings to take hold as eventual replacements for the mature canopy.  Stay alert, though.  Take the time to walk the site yearly to watch for buckthorn seedlings you may have missed.