The fight against buckthorn is a never ending task. Buckthorn is the most prevalent invasive species in Southeast Minnesota woodlands. I would estimate that 85 percent of my woods (about 30 acres) is buckthorn free. To keep it that way I “weed the woods” with a tool called the Extractigator which is pictured above. With this tool I can physically pull smaller buckthorn keeping it at bay.
The Extractigator has a sliding clamp located at the bottom which you clamp around the base of the buckthorn then pry out of the ground – roots and all. Over time buckthorn is easy to identify. I find the key is the shape of the leaf and gloss of the leaf. The picture below shows the buckthorn leaves and a little of how the clamp works.
When finished the root of the buckthorn is completely out of the ground and one less threat to the woods. You can find tons of information about buckthorn on the web, so I won’t cover that ground here. I weed the woods of the smaller buckthorn and from time to time work to cut down and poison the larger seed producing buckthorn. Last fall we cut down 5 large buckthorn down by the Zumbro river and after cutting them down brushed on undiluted Roundup on the stumps. This spring there is no sign of new shoots growing out of the stumps, they are completely dead.
Just a last note that while weeding the woods for buckthorn I have also started weeding for another invasive called Prickly Ash. I plan on doing a book review later on a book I have called “Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest”. Buckthorn and Prickly Ash are just two of many invasive species which we have to deal with.