What’s the best way to control Buckthorn trees?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
I live in central Wisconsin and 1 of my properties has a bad Buckthorn problem. Are chemicals the only way to control these trees, or will a growing season fire help? I know treating stumps will help kill and prevent spreading and sprouts but short of spraying a cocktail of different herbicides, how do you control the very young plants germinated a year or two ago?

Thanks and enjoy all the knowledge from you and your staff!!


Buckthorn can be very invasive and require lots of labor to control.  Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) will control Buckthorn.  Young saplings can be pulled by hand, but that can be very labor intensive.  

There are some great tips for controlling Buckthorn at:  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/woody/buckthorn/control.html

I suggest you dive in and get control of this invasive species.  This process will require some follow up as Buckthorn seeds can remain viable in the soil for years.  However, it’s relatively fast to treat young saplings/seedlings with a small hand sprayer.

Enjoy creation,


December 3, 2015