Buckthorn Pulling

For the last few mornings, I’ve pulled buckthorn. And pulled buckthorn. And pulled even more buckthorn. My yard waste container is more than full but tomorrow it will be empty and I get to start all over again.  Well, that is, if the weather holds up. I won’t be starting my buckthorn project again until next week and the weather will be hot.

Yesterday I worked in an area of the property that has massive amounts of buckthorn. Instead of a “field of dreams,” I call it a field of buckthorn. Here’s what it looks like … You see the area on the lower right corner where you can see dirt? That’s the edge of where I stopped working.

Field of Buckthorn
Field of Buckthorn

I believe that if I worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks, I would have a handle on the buckthorn. One of the problems I run into are all the branches on the ground that are intermingled with the buckthorn. I spend a lot of time clearing the branches so I can be on solid footing.

Once I get this cleaned up, I’m determined to keep it clear of buckthorn and branches. But — I’m starting to believe that I may have to hire someone to help me pull this weed out. Then, one of us could do the branch clean up while the other one pulls buckthorn. It sounds like a good plan. I’ll have to see how I feel about it next week.

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5 thoughts on “Buckthorn Pulling”

  1. What a nice site you have here. I am next door in WI. I also have an overwhelming amount of Buckthorn on the 11 acres of land we own. For the past few years I have been working with chain saws on the larger trees and treating the stumps with with a mixture of Ortho Brush killer and mineral oil to prevent resprouting. This has worked well for controlling the larger trees. But as you know there are a now billions of seeds that are on the ground and while the smaller (less than a foot high) ones can bee pulled by hand, who wants to pull that much Buckthorn? I had consigned myself to years of work clearing the property. But last year I had a breakthrough. I found a herbicide that kills the buckthorn by being sprayed on. As I am sure you know you can spray Buckthorn with pure Roundup and it just shrugs and continues growing just fine. The herbicide I found is called Triclopyr. It isn’t cheap but it works!!! I bought it in bulk by the gallon for $67.95 from keystonepestsolutions.com Since it is a concentrate it goes a long way. In addition I also purchased a surfactant to add to the mix to assist in making sure it clings to the leaves better, that was an additional $10. The mix I use is 5 Tbs Triclopyr & 1 Tbs Surfactant added to a gallon of water. (I am using a stronger mix, you can start out at 2 Tbs per gal but then have a higher chance of no effect on the damn things) At my rate of mix the gallon of Triclopyr will make 25 gallons of spray at a cost of less than 3 dollars per gallon. Application in in a standard pump sprayer. I walked around and sprayed all the leaves to get them wet, do not want to waste the spray so do es not need to be dripping off, just until leaves are wet. Then sit back and wait. In about one week in you will notice the leaves beginning to droop and curl but it will take at least two weeks to really show the results. It is starting to get to late in the season for this year to apply. I applied some last year late in the season to no effect. The trees need to be in their growing season, July & early Aug being the best time. I can’t begin to tell you how it feels to have wide swaths of the stuff just curl up and die a couple weeks after being sprayed. I have also gone into areas where the little sprouts are coming up and just walked around giving each a quick spritz of death. So much better than crawling along on your hands an knees pulling them. Of course you to be okay with using herbicide, some people are opposed to using chemicals for this kind of thing. If you want I can send you some pictures of the results I have had, let me know.

    1. Thank you for the information. I spend my mornings (if it’s not humid) pulling the buckthorn on our property. We don’t have as much acreage as you do.

      So far, it’s been easy. I have found only one tree that needs to be chopped down but it can be done with a hand saw. Fortunately.

      Yes, please send me pictures of the results you’ve had. Although I haven’t resorted to using a pesticide (yet) it may happen next year. I’m hoping to install native plants and am not sure if the residual pesticide would have an effect on new plants going in. Do you know?

  2. Yes, our property is heavily infested and I have acres of larger trees still to cut down let alone the smaller stuff. Couldn’t find your email on the website to send pictures to.

    As to residue… The stuff breaks down fairly quickly and I have not had issue with that. It will kill what you spray it on an also if you are careless in applying it the overspray could hurt plants right next to where you are spraying if you get the spray on them. But by using the hand sprayer you can really target the plants and only apply to the ones you want. The key is that you should only be wetting the leaves, not spraying on so much that it it running off the leaves like rain.

    1. Here is my email address: simplynorma7@gmail.com Thanks for the additional info. I will make a note to myself for the springtime since all of my buckthorn (except for 1 tree) are 2-3 feet in height so I believe I can spray them, as you suggest, when they start coming up again along with any I didn’t pull by hand from this year.

      I’m really making progress though — so far.

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