Living with buckthorn

arydantJuly 22, 2013

I bought a home on 1 acre of wooded land in winter. It's a fixer-upper and the landscape has been neglected for decades. Come spring I discover: 1/3 of the land is covered in Buckthorn/Honeysuckle. Trees are Ash, Cottonwood and Boxelder. This is 90% of the fauna on the property. Everything I read tells me to eradicate the Buckthorn but I can't find anything about managing it. I agree that it has many undesirable qualities, but it does provide privacy and prevents animals and people from entering my yard. There is no economical way to remove it all and I am realizing I may never win the battle if I try to conquer it.

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My sympathy; I also have lots of buckthorn and honeysuckle (both vines and shrubs) as well as bittersweet and a bit of barberry. It's like the proverbial eating of an elephant; one bite at a time. You can cut down the tree or shrub and then use a plastic squeeze bottle with a narrow applicator tip to put a brush killer (I use glyphosate, generic Round-up as the least toxic alternative) directly around the edge of the cut where the cambium is and the plant will absorb it into the roots. It may come back again one year, but IME if this is done a second time, it dies. In the fall, the leaves stay on the seedlings of both honeysuckle and buckthorn later than on other plants, so I go out with pliers and pull them. I have areas that I have pretty well cleared of buckthorn and I just keep trying to expand those areas, though each year I go back and check those areas and pull any new sprouts.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:00PM
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You might see more interest here if the thread posed a distinct question. I'm not sure exactly what you're after, or if you're just seeking commiseration.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:57AM
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According to what articles I've read - this from the Washington Conservation District, but our Minnesota DNR says about the same: "There is no easy method for buckthorn control. The berries are spread widely by birds and small mammals and buckthorn can resprout or sucker from stumps and roots. Buckthorn management is labor intensive and effective control is difficult without some herbicide usage. Control strategies can include one or more of the following: cut stump treatments, basal bark treatments, foliar treatments, fire, crown removal and mechanical removal."

I've got a couple of buckthorn, fortunately sizes that are almost easy to deal with short of actually digging or wenching them out - which I cannot manage. In a lazy year, I'll just do a debranching so they don't produce berries. But normally, I would cut them down, scrape up the bark and drill a few holes in the stumps to pour in whatever strength of Round-up I had and hope for an eventual kill. And keep on the look out for sprouts.

Honeysuckle I just keep cutting to the ground.

Frankly, I don't know what I'd do with a large infestation of either. I live very close to an in city nature preserve and every year they call in college students and the Boy Scouts.

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 13:52

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:49PM
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