Learn How You Can Battle Invasive Buckthorn

Learn How You Can Battle Invasive Buckthorn

On Feb 21 and Feb. 28, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative will host two workshops for individual property owners and/or their contractors titled Battling Buckthorn: Effective strategies for removal, replacement and customer/client communications.

This workshop will teach participants mitigation strategies, alternative plants for planting and how to talk with your contractor, client, or neighbor about woody invasive plants on your/their property.

Buckthorn is an exotic invasive plant that illegal to plant in Illinois. Most private property owners do not realize its harmful effects on surrounding trees, wildlife, and landscapes.

The workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Lake County Forest Preserve facility located at 19808 W. Grant Avenue in Lindenhurst and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Forest Preserve of Cook County facility located at 500 Ogden Avenue in Western Springs.

The workshops are free. To register for one of the workshops go to ChicagoRTI.org/BattlingBuckthorn or contact Melissa at mcustic@mortonarb.org.

The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is a partnership for coordinated action on key issues facing trees. It is the largest such initiative in the country, with leading organizations and agencies from across the seven-county metropolitan region working together. CRTI is leveraging funding, knowledge, skills, and expertise to build a healthier, more diverse regional forest.

Common buckthorn (Illegal to sell in Illinois)

SOURCE: Morton Arboretum

Leaves and fruit of common buckthorn.

Common buckthorn is an invasive plant in Illinois and should not be planted. It forms dense thickets and reproduces very freely, crowding out other plants and disrupting  ecosystems in forest preserves and other natural areas. In woodlands it can completely replace existing understory plants, including native wildflowers.

Buckthorn has berries that are spread by birds. The seeds germinate at a very high rate and remain viable in soil for two to three years. Buckthorn is very common in gardens and yards in the Midwest, but should be removed where it is found.

Buckthorn is a large shrub or tall tree with glossy oval leaves that can easily be recognized in fall, when it remains green after most other leaves have fallen.

Under the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, buckthorn cannot be sold in Illinois.

  • Botanical name:  Rhamnus cathartica
  • All Common Names:  Common buckthorn, buckthorn, European buckthorn, rhine berry