Back to Target Weeds for Control
Why should we care?
How to Identify
- Buckthorn is a very competitive plant that takes away nutrients, sunlight, and moisture from native plants around it, causing erosion and the destruction of wildlife habitat to occur from the lack of other plant species to survive. Because of its growth, the buckthorn plant forms an “impenetrable” layer, making in nearly impossible for native saplings to grow and mature.
About the Plant and Where it came from
- Buckthorns tend to grow as small trees or shrubs that are usually around 20–25 feet tall. Their outer bark is dark gray or brown and their inner bark tends to be more orange in color, but it can be red or brown as well. The leaves are egg-shaped, pointed at the tip, smooth and glossy, and finely toothed with 3–5 curved leaf veins. Buckthorn also has large amounts of dark purple/black berries.
How to Control
- Rhamnus cathartica
- Buckthorn was brought from Europe in the mid 1800s as hedging material. However, once released into the wild, the plant was found to be a very invasive weed.
- Buckthorn seeds in the soil can remain viable for up to five years.
- Cultural control: Hand-pulling the seedlings of young buckthorns is effective, but controlled fires, if done annually, kills both the small and large buckthorns and prevents them from growing again once native, fire-resistant, vegetation returns.
- Chemical control: The use of a herbicide that contains Triclopyr or Glyphosate (Roundup) prevents re-sprouting of large buckthorn if stumps are treated immediately after being cut.