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Why Buckthorn Threatens Minnesota Plant & Animal Ecosystems

In a recent blog post we discussed Minnesota invasive plant species and the general threats they pose to our environment. In this article we’d like to focus on one of the biggest problem plants, the buckthorn. Not even a factor just a few decades ago, buckthorn control is at the top of the list in our plant management programs. First, what exactly is buckthorn and how did we get it here in Minnesota? Common Buckthorn Not to be confused with sea buckthorn, common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica )is a plant species that isn’t...

Why Invasive Plants Pose a Threat to Minnesota’s Natural Environment

As a Minnesota landscaping company specializing in restoring native prairies and other native plant ecosystems, one of the challenges we face is eradication of invasive plant species. Before we can start on a native plant installation project, often the first thing we have to do is get rid of invasive plants such as buckthorn. Just what qualifies as an invasive species? According to the USDA, it is any plant that is not native to the area (or ecosystem) in question, and if introduced can cause harm to the environment, the local economy, or human health. Not counting aquatic plants...

Buckthorn Overspray Season

While most people keep track of the year in seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) I tend to break the year down into seasons based on the work we are doing at Prairie Restorations. Burn season, integrated plant management season (IPM), buckthorn overspray season, and buckthorn cutting season. We are fast approaching buckthorn overspray season, or as most people call it, fall. Some of our offices may already have started spraying buckthorn or will be starting soon. I’ve been managing the woods at the Target Corporate Campus since I started...

Winter is the Time to Tackle Buckthorn and Oak Wilt

Cutting buckthornIt is the middle of January and winter has flexed its muscles. Many people would assume that a company named “Prairie Restorations” would be sitting back enjoying some quiet time before spring arrives and with it a flurry of activity, but they would be wrong. We have crews out across the state working on projects. Our typical winter field work consists of buckthorn removal along with other woody invasives, but this year we have a variety of other projects happening. In the west metro we...

Buckthorn Removal

Cutting buckthornMany people tend to think that buckthorn removal is a one time deal. Often times they don’t realize that even after the initial removal of adult trees, follow up sprays for several years may be required to achieve the level of control that most homeowners are looking for. Along with the removal of buckthorn it is also a good ideal to cleanup dead and downed trees from the forest floor to make the follow-up sprays easier, more effective and overall less costly. Any logs, big limbs or brush should...

Dress for Success

winter workIt’s no surprise that winter is in full force here in Minnesota. When the snow starts to fall, many Prairie Restorations employees are heading to the woods to cut the dreaded buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Buckthorn management alone poses its own set of challenges, but when you throw in freezing temperatures and snow, now you have a whole different animal. I will offer some tips for dressing that can get you through these cold winter days. – When working outdoors in the cold, it is important to dress in layers. Just throwing on...

Fall Means Buckthorn Control at PRI

buckthornIt’s starting to look and feel a lot like fall, and that means the buckthorn season is upon us. In the next few weeks, as the native trees and shrubs go dormant for the year, buckthorn will remain green. This small window provides us the opportunity to treat buckthorn with herbicide while not harming any of the desirable native plants. Fall is a busy time at PRI. Our management staff moves very quickly from spraying buckthorn to prescribed burning of the prairies, and then back to buckthorn cutting....

Winter is for Buckthorn Removal

BTR afterAs I sit down at my desk on this subzero Minnesota winter day, of which it seems as though we have had more than usual, I am thinking about the amount of buckthorn and tree removal work that we have yet to finish. We have been outside working on buckthorn and tree removal projects every day that we can, but the weather has been providing us with extra challenges this year. Mother Nature does not seem to want to cooperate –...

Adding a Walking Trail to Your Prairie or Woodland

fall mapleThe leaves are turning color and starting to fall indicating that autumn has finally arrived. It seems like it’s happening a couple of weeks later than usual. I enjoy the fall because I enjoy bow hunting and because it means our season is winding down from a very busy summer. We are still quite busy, however, spraying buckthorn right now. In another week the buckthorn will be real easy to spot in the woods because it will be the only tree that is still green. This is why we...

Management Season Finally in Full Swing

IMG_0327The prairie management season has finally arrived!  We are busier than ever trying to make it to all of our prairies and woodlands in order to keep them free of those pesky weeds.  Among the beautiful spring woodland flowers, grasses, and ferns there are a couple of especially noxious weeds that can wreak havoc and make any woodland look undesirable.  Two main weeds we battle in the spring are the ever popular Garlic Mustard and Dame’s rocket.  Both of these biennial seed-producing weeds...