Managing Invasive Buckthorn

Our goats love eating it!

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) was first brought to Minnesota from Europe in the mid-1800s as a popular hedging material. It was soon found to be quite invasive in natural areas and the nursery industry stopped selling it in the early 1900’s. There are many forrests in Minnesota that consisit of almost completely buckthorn and it needs to be controlled or we will lose our native plant and tree species. Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is also from Europe and aggressively invades wetlands including acidic bogs, fens and sedge meadows.

Goat in fencing - Minnesota

Goat in fencing – Minnesota

Why is buckthorn such a problem?

  • Out-competes native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture
  • Degrades wildlife habitat
  • Threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies, and other natural habitats
  • Contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor
  • Serves as host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid
  • Forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation
  • Lacks “natural controls” like insects or disease that would curb its growth

What can you do? 

Hire Goat Dispatch to bring in a herd of goats who will happily consume this invasive plant. Multiple grazings per season will have the most impact on reducing Buckthorn. However, even one time of having the goats graze will reduce an area of Buckthorn and other noxious plants. Keep in mind as the goats are consuming and ridding the area, it is completely eco-friendly.

Contact your local DNR for ways to help rid your property of Buckthorn.

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