Buckthorn Removal in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN

Most Minnesota residents have heard of buckthorn. Some see buckthorn’s positive attributes: its hard and dense wood is good for woodworking arbors and trellises, and it creates a privacy barrier around a property. On the other hand, many consider it a nuisance. It spreads aggressively, crowding out other plant life, and can actually form a near “monoculture” when left unchecked. Buckthorn is time consuming and difficult to eradicate, especially since its fruit remains in the soil for years, where it re-sprouts. Professionals, like those at S&S Tree and Horticultural Specialists, can help you mange the buckthorn that may be sprouting on your Twin Cities property.

How to Identify Buckthorn
Many people mistake other shrubs or trees for buckthorn. Buckthorn’s bark is very similar to the choke cherry and American plum tree. Other plants that are mistaken for buckthorn include hawthorn, nannyberry, grey dogwood, and more. This is why it’s good to have a I.S.A Certified Arborists® inspect your plants and trees.

Both common and glossy buckthorn leaves remain green late into the fall, far later than native understory plants. This helps in identifying buckthorn in late October and early November. It also allows broadcast herbicide applications on buckthorn seedlings without harming the dormant native plants.

Once established, buckthorn has the potential to spread very aggressively due to the production of large numbers of berries, each containing three to four seeds. The seeds can remain in the soil for up to six years before germinating.

Buckthorn Removal & Treatment Options
There are two main types of buckthorn in Minnesota: Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula). They were introduced to North America in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, both buckthorn varieties have aggressively invaded our woodlands and wetlands. As they mature into tall shrubs and small trees they cast dense shade, preventing the establishment of native plant communities. Because of this, buckthorn is no longer commercially available.

Many Minnesota homeowners “go at it” to remove buckthorn, and then face other challenges including soil erosion and possible invasions of other non-native species. Removing and eradicating buckthorn is not an easy task – it can take years because of the nature of buckthorn re-sprouting.

There are several ways to remove and treat buckthorn including manual removal (very time consuming and hard work), hand pulling, digging, wrenching, stump cutting, frill cutting, basil bark treatment with herbicides, and other methods. Again, an I.S.A Certified Arborist® is the best person to help you with your buckthorn problem since the fruit that starts more buckthorn plants remains in the soil for years! They can grow 6 to 8 feet in just one season!

If you live in the Twin Cities area, Minnesota, and you want I.S.A Certified Arborists® to identify, treat or get rid of your buckthorn, you simply won’t find a more capable company than S&S Tree and Horticultural Specialists! Call us today.

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