The Buck(thorn) Stops Here!

Mar. 5th, 2018 by W Scott McAdam Jr.

Are you aware of the threat that common buckthorn poses to the landscape, wildlife habitat and environment overall?

Widespread throughout the state and identified as an invasive plant by the State of Illinois, buckthorn can grow from seed, as well as sprout from cut stems, which increases its ability to invade new areas. 

So, why is buckthorn such a problem? 

-It outcompetes native plants for light, nutrients, and moisture – effectively, a woody weed.

-It degrades the habitat of wildlife.

-It threatens native forests and landscapes due to its rapid growth and establishment rate.

-It contributes to erosion by shading out understory plants.

Buckthorn is a single stem, sometimes multi-stem, plant with glossy, dense, green foliage and black fruit. The seeds in these fruits are readily dispersed by birds and other wildlife, which increases the plants’ ability to establish itself in forests and residential landscapes while making it very difficult to control.

Think you might have it growing in your landscape? Give us a call and we will take a look. If it is present, we can remove the buckthorn before it causes more harm. 

This installment of "Ask the Plant Expert" will be published in the March 7, 2018 edition of the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, the Forest Park Review and the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.