Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Buckthorn Busters!

It's Invasive Species Awareness Month in Illinois.

Buckthorn is one of many invasive species. If you take a look around your local forest area, buckthorn is everywhere.

What is buckthorn:
Buckthorn is an invasive, non-native shrub or small tree that was introduced to North America during the late 1800’s. Buckthorn was planted as a popular hedge but has since escaped into virtually every corner of the state. Each buckthorn fruit produces 2-4 seeds that remain viable for up to six years! Birds eat these fruits and deposit the seeds everywhere. Because buckthorn tolerates shade, full-sun, drought and bad soil, it thrives just about anywhere.

Why is buckthorn bad:
Buckthorn is the bully of the forest. They are detrimental to the health and future of our woodlands, prairies, wetlands and parks because is takes over large areas destroying wildlife habitat and food sources and out- competes other important native plants that we need for a stabile, healthy ecosystem. Both Common and Glossy Buckthorn are restricted noxious weeds.

What can you do to get rid of buckthorn?
Getting rid of Buckthorn is both easy and difficult. It is easy because Buckthorn is easy to identify, and in its seedling to one-year-old plant stage, easy to pull up by the roots in moist soils. However, the root system of larger plants must be removed completely or it can re-sprout for many years. Buckthorn holds its green leaves late into the fall, making that an ideal time to identify and remove it. If you are not sure if you have buckthorn on your property, contact your local certified arborist.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. provides tree maintenance and care, and our 4 certified arborists can help you identify not only the buckthorn, but all the invasive species that may be on our property.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. is accustomed to removing invasive species, such as buckthorn and also offer a complete line of plant health care to prevent its return.

If you have a large infestation of Buckthorn on your property, consider removal a long term effort. It may involve a 5 year commitment on your part, or your contracted tree service, like Trees "R" Us, Inc. If you work diligently, each year the amount of Buckthorn will be reduced. The first two years are when you or your tree service will have the most work. If you have Buckthorn that measures 2.5" in diameter or less, you can rent or purchase a special tool called a weed wrench that will help you pull the plants out of the ground. It is best to use this tool when soils are moist. Or, you can always call your local tree service. Trees "R" Us, Inc. regularly removes buckthorn from properties and parks.  We have worked extensively on Chicago's north shore in removing buckthorn.  Our work on the north shore and the northwest suburbs of Chicago has led us to clear acres of land of its buckthorn allowing the oaks, maples and many other indiginous trees to survive and thrive.

The Morton Arboretum’s Natural Resources Department is hosting numerous workdays throughout May to help control invasive species throughout the Arboretum’s natural areas. Activities will take place in several locations, so it is required to sign up ahead of time to provide you with appropriate information about the event. Wednesday mornings, volunteers will be working ‘Buckthorn Busters’. Volunteers interested in participating can contact us at volunteer@mortonarb.org at least 24hrs prior to any workday.
The schedule is below.

Full schedule of workdays for the Morton Arboretum: Mondays - Wetlands - 8:30-11:30 am Wednesday - Buckthorne Busters - 8:30-11:30am or East Prairie - 5:30pm - sunset. Thursdays - East Prairie - 8:30-11:30am or Wetlands - 5:30pm-sunset. Fridays - Heritage Trail - 8:30-11:30am Saturdays : May 5th - Weekend Warriors - 8:30-11:30am, May 19th - Weekend workday8:30-11:30am, and May 26th - Prairie workday - 1-4pm.

Thanks for reading,

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