Buckthorn

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2018 Workshop: ''How to Win the Buckthorn Battle"

The City of Burnsville will be holding a free workshop on Thursday Sept. 13, 2018 at 6:15 p.m., "How to Win the Buckthorn Battle."

The workshop will provide information to help residents improve the health of area woods – whether a small patch of trees or several acres. Find more information on the event.

Buckthorn Removal in Your Backyard

Do you have buckthorn in your yard? You are not alone. Most shady areas in Burnsville that are not mowed or actively managed will eventually produce buckthorn. The invasive shrub is spread by birds that eat buckthorn berries. The berries act as a laxative in birds and seeds are quickly deposited in new locations.

Why is buckthorn a problem? 

Buckthorn invades natural ecosystems, quickly outcompeting native woodland plants for light, water, and nutrients. Unlike native plants, buckthorn has no natural insect or animal predators here to keep the population under control. Buckthorn prevents regeneration of native trees and over time, turns a healthy forest into a shrubby thicket of buckthorn (see photos below). With little else that can grow beneath it, it exposes forest soils to erosion. The berries can also be very messy.

Healthy forest floor versus a buckthorn-invaded forest floor
Healthy forest floor Buckthorn invaded forest floor

You can help with the buckthorn problem by starting in your own backyard!

To remove buckthorn, you will need lots of energy and patience. Controlling buckthorn is a multi-year process as buckthorn seeds can germinate up to six years after they fell from their parent plant. These new plants will need to be controlled well after the initial removal is complete. However, buckthorn control on both public and private properties will benefit the entire urban forest community.

Where to start?

The information provided in the links below will walk you through identifying, removing, treatment with herbicide and what to do when buckthorn is gone. Want a shortened version? Check out our two page identification and control guide here.

What services does the City provide to help residents?

Tool Rental

The City has a "weed wrench" tool available for loan (you must leave a returnable deposit of $150 by check or cash) that can be used to lift and remove small buckthorn by their roots. Click here for more information.

Buckthorn Pick up Programs

The City has programs to help residents dispose of buckthorn through a curbside pick up. Find more information on how you can participate.

City Compost Site Open for Buckthorn Select Weekends

To help dedicated residents in their quest to remove and dispose of buckthorn, the City will open its private compost site during the last weekend of the month during June through September - and every weekend in October. Find more information, including dates and compost site location.

Additional Resources

Take Back Your Woods - Buckthorn Identification and Removal Guide (PDF)

Still have questions? Contact the City Natural Resources Department at 952-895-4543 or email.