City of Newport
596 7th Avenue
Newport, MN 55055
Phone: (651) 459-5677
Fax: (651) 459-9883
Hours: Monday - Thursday
8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
What is buckthorn?
Common, or European, buckthorn and glossy buckthorn are two non-native buckthorn species that can be found in Minnesota. European buckthorn was first brought to the state in the mid-1800's, serving as a popular hedging material. However, it escaped and became a nuisance plant, forming dense thickets in forests, yards, parks, and roadsides. It crowded out native plants and displaced the native shrubs and small trees in the mid-layer of the forest where many species of birds nested. Glossy buckthorn is sold by nurseries in two different forms, "Columnaris", which is narrow and tall, and "Aspenifolia", which grows up to 10 feet and has a ferny texture.
Why is buckthorn problematic?
Buckthorn competes with native plants for nutrients, moisture, and light - and wins! It threatens the future of forests, wetlands, and other natural habitats, which also degrades the habitat of wildlife. Buckthorn contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor, and can serve as a host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid.
You'd like to get rid of the buckthorn bushes that have invaded your yard, creating tangled undergrowth that crowd out native plants like dogwood and wild geranium, but how? Cutting the plant down doesn't work - suckers sprout from the remaining stump.
Rusty Smidt, Natural Resource Specialist for the Washington County Conservation District, discussed the buckthorn problem with the Newport Park Board at its February 12, 2008 meeting. Rusty recommends two methods that he's found work nearly 100% of the time:
Rusty stressed the importance of replanting native plants in areas that have been cleared of buckthorn. If new, desirable plants are not introduced, buckthorn may re-invade.