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Buckthorn, a problem for forests and habitat

    The Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District presented to the Wadena County Commissioners in November facts about a noxious plant causing chaos in the county. 

    Buckthorn is an invasive shrub that is native to Europe. It was introduced to the U.S. in the mid-1800s because it was popular for hedges and it turned into a nuisance plant. 

    They formed dense thickets in forests, yards, parks and roadsides. They crowd out native plants and displace the native shrubs and small trees in the mid-layer of the forest where many species of birds nest, which decreases species diversity of plants and songbirds. 

    It threatens forests and degrades wildlife habitat. It contributes to erosion by out-competing native plants that would hold soil in place, light, moisture and nutrients. The lack of other plant life and the difficulty to navigate through it could affect the deer traffic. It acts as a laxative for birds and the fruits are messy, staining cars, decks, and concrete purple. It is expensive and time consuming to remove once it reaches a dense thicket.

    “Unfortunately, buckthorn has been in our area around 40 years, so it will not go away that quickly either.  Some of our landowners do know what buckthorn is and have been actively controlling it, but many landowners don’t know about it so that’s why we are going the route of educating,” said Anne Oldakowski of Wadena SWCD....


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