Decades ago,  we lived in the northern Chicago suburbs, where our cozy little neighborhood was called Blueberry Hill because it was built on one of the few inclined bits of ground in a very flat area – and its back yards were thick with trees bursting with deep, blue berries.

We quickly identified that profuse blue-berried vegetation as  common buckthorn.

Doug and I bought a chain saw and went after it, but as anyone who has ever battled buckthorn knows – it’s not that easy. The stumps re-sprout vigorously and profusely.

And now you have a spiky thicket – supressing all the native plants beneath it and spreading explosively via birds who eat the attractive, blue berries. The scientific name of buckthorn is Rhamnus cathartica. The “cathartica” part refers to purging. The poor birds are “purging” the berries through their system at high speed as they distribute the seeds along with everything else nutritious they may have eaten before it could be digested.

Well, now there is a new and effective way to clear buckthorn from your property in the places you don’t want to use herbicides. Check out my latest article in Isthmus below.

Battling buckthorn

UW student invents a new weapon to fight the invasive tree


November 17, 2016


Read the rest here.






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