It's Time For Buckthorn Busting

Fall is a great time to manage buckthorn on your property. Common and glossy buckthorn are invasive woody shrubs which aggressively outcompete native plants, disrupting the habitat benefits they provide. Buckthorn chemically alters the soil, creating an inhospitable environment for other plants.
Buckthorn leaves stay green longer than most other Minnesota woodland trees and shrubs so you'll easily notice them in mid to late October.
Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) can be found in upland forests. Look for the thorn, which can be found at the end of some branches. Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) tends to grow in slightly wetter areas but can be found in a variety of habitats. There are no thorns. Look for the rust colored terminal bud.

New research from the University of MN suggests that buckthorn seeds do not persist in the soil for 6+ years as was previously thought. Their findings suggest that over 97% of seeds germinate in the first year. As you manage buckthorn, aim to prevent seed production on mature plants with mid-summer cutting and follow up with treatment of the small sprouts for the best results.

See ACD's buckthorn fact sheet for tips on identifying buckthorn, to learn about native look-alikes, and compare methods for controlling common and glossy buckthorn. For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Common Buckthorn
Glossy Buckthorn
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Anoka CWMA works to control invasive species in Anoka County

BWSR awarded ACD $15,000 for the third phase of the Anoka Cooperative Weed Management Area. The Anoka CWMA formed in 2018 and consists of Anoka Conservation District, Anoka Parks, Cities, Watershed Districts, MN Department of Agriculture, and volunteers to coordinate invasive species control efforts in Anoka County. Anoka CWMA activities include mapping, monitoring, outreach, treatment on select populations, and provides some cost share assistance. 

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Winter Buckthorn Treatment is Underway

Common and glossy buckthorn are common invaders in native landscapes; common buckthorn grows mostly in upland environments while glossy buckthorn grows in wetland environments. ACD is working to control buckthorn at sites that still have intact native plant communities and rare plants to ensure those quality sites do not become further degraded. Work this winter is taking place at Robert and Marilyn Burman WMA, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, and Blaine Preserve SNA with funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

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