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Upcoming Workshop:  'Take Back Your Woods'

The City of Burnsville will be holding a free workshop on Thursday Sept. 13, 2018 at 6:15 p.m., “Take Back Your Woods – How to Win the Buckthorn Battle and Bring Back Native Plants and Wildlife.”

The workshop will provide information to help residents improve the health of area woods – whether a small patch of trees or several acres.  Find more information on the event here.

Buckthorn Removal in Your Backyard

Do you have buckthorn in your yard? You are not alone. Most shady areas in Burnsville that are not mowed or actively managed will eventually produce buckthorn. The invasive shrub is spread by birds that eat buckthorn berries. The berries act as a laxative in birds and seeds are quickly deposited in new locations.

Why is buckthorn a problem? Buckthorn invades natural ecosystems, quickly outcompeting native woodland plants for light, water, and nutrients. Unlike native plants, buckthorn has no natural insect or animal predators here to keep the population under control. Buckthorn prevents regeneration of native trees and over time, turns a healthy forest into a shrubby thicket of buckthorn (see photos below). With little else that can grow beneath it, it exposes forest soils to erosion. The berries can also be very messy.
 Healthy forest floor versus a buckthorn-invaded forest floor
            Healthy forest floor   Buckthorn invaded forest floor

You can help with the buckthorn problem by starting in your own backyard!
To remove buckthorn, you will need lots of energy and patience.  Controlling buckthorn is a multi-year process as buckthorn seeds can germinate up to six years after they fell from their parent plant. These new plants will need to be controlled well after the initial removal is complete. However, buckthorn control on both public and private properties will benefit the entire urban forest community.

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

What services does the City provide to help residents?

Tool Rental
The City has a tool available for rent (with a $150 returnable deposit) called a weed wrench that will pull small buckthorn up by the roots. Click here for more information.

Buckthorn Pick up Programs
The City has programs to help residents dispose of buckthorn through a curbside pick up.  For more information on how you can participate, click here.

City Compost Site Open for Buckthorn Select Weekends
To help dedicated residents in their quest to remove and dispose of buckthorn, the City will open its private compost site during the last weekend of the month during June through September - and every weekend in October.  Click here for more information, including the exact dates and compost site location.

Additional resources

Take Back Your Woods - Buckthorn Identification and Removal Guide

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

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