Buckthorn is one of many invasive species in Illinois. 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. It used to be a popular choice for hedging. Yes, people actually wanted this ugly plant around! But, since the 1800s it has proliferated to virtually every corner of the state.
It's such a powerful plant that 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 tolerate shade, full-sun, drought and bad soil, it thrives just about anywhere.
Why is buckthorn bad:
Buckthorn is equivalent to the playground bully. It is 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. Buckthorn essentially suffocates all the plants, not letting them grow.
What can you do to get rid of buckthorn?
Well, that is a trick questions and is have a trick answer...it is both easy and hard to get rid of this beast. While Buckthorn is easy to identify, and when young it is easy to pull up by the roots in moist soils. But, if it is a more mature plant, the root system is already pretty large and EVERY bit of it MUST be removed completely or it can re-sprout for many years. Buckthorn sone of the last plants to lose its leaves in the fall. This is a great time to remove it. You know for sure you are removing only the buckthorn and making sure you get all of it easily.
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.
Thanks for reading,