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How to Identify Buckthorn
One of the most important steps in removing buckthorn is figuring out whether or not you have it on your property! Identifying buckthorn is pretty easy. If you think it looks like buckthorn, it probably is.

There are two species of buckthorn in the area and this page will go through how to identify them at different stages of growth.

General Appearance

Buckthorn general appearance









































Leaves and Berries

Common and glossy buckthorn

























Common and glossy buckthorn berries























Bark and Trunk (similar in both buckthorn species)



Buckthorn Identification Page_Page_4_cropped.jpg



Don’t worry about the small seedlings (see picture below) if you still have larger buckthorn around. But when you have the big stuff under control, you will want to keep an eye out for any seedlings that try to come back. It’s a lot less work to pull out a seedling than to cut down a mature buckthorn!

Buckthorn seedlings






























Buckthorn Look-a-Like:  Black Cherry


Buckthorn look-a-likes












































Want to print this to use while you are in the field? Click here for a printable version of this page.



What’s next?

The information provided in the links below will walk you through identifying, removing, treating with herbicide and what to do when buckthorn is gone.  Want a shortened version?  Click here for a two page identification and control guide. 

Identifying Buckthorn

Removal Method – Pulling

Removal Method – Cutting

Tips on Herbicide Use

Disposal of Buckthorn

Replacement Plantings


Additional resources
Take Back Your Woods - Identification and Control Guide


Still have questions? Contact the City Natural Resources Department at 952-895-4543 or email.

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