One of the many plant varieties homeowners find creeping into their yards is Buckthorn, weather it be a few shoots among the Lilacs or the scrubby plants in the trees at the edge of the property.   Here are a few common questions and comments regarding the plant:

  • “Why is it a big deal to remove it?” many homeowners ask;  Buckthorn is aggressive non-native, it competes for the space that young Maples and Oaks, Poplars and many other woodland trees need to get established.  Buckthorn will grow fast and block out light and consume water and nutrients that the other young plants needed.  That aggressiveness can handicap our future wooded spaces: in yards, parks and the wild.
  • “How does my yard affect the wild, I’m not close to anything” is a common comment; the Buckthorn is a plant that has berries, and while a last resort for food for birds because it upsets their digestion, these birds are then the ones who help spread the Buckthorn miles and miles from the source.
  • “I never see any berries”- while not every plant is a female producing fruit it can still spread by its roots with in your own yard- or your neighbors.
  • “But there is so much of it!” Like I said its aggressive, so with out intervention it has and will continue to be a nuisance. ( see pic below)

Buckthorn in a typical wooded property, 4′ plants cover the area with green leaves

So what makes now a great time to be busting the Buckthorn?  This time of year the plant is even easier to identify as it holds its leaves much longer then most of the other woodland vegetation, not to say its the only thing out there with leaves, but it certainly narrows it down. There are also some other methods that work best in the fall because the surrounding plants are dormant.  It is most commonly pulled and cut to remove, but the use of herbicides can greatly help the cause to help you get ahead faster.  Use the links below for more information and find the best method to bust it from your yard.

And why is so often called busting Buckthorn? To that I cannot provide a definite answer, but as I have heard it was from a group that wanted to eradicate Buckthorn with help, so they came up with a marketable phrase “Buckthorn Busters” to get more people evolved. Kinda catchy don’t you think?

other links: Control Options,  Help to identify, More info