Buckthorn: What to Know; What to Do.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has declared common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn as restricted noxious weeds. This means that the sale, transport, or movement of these plants is prohibited statewide. If you have buckthorn on your property, you are encouraged to remove it. 

Once buckthorn is removed, please mulch heavily or landscape the area to prevent the return of buckthorn, or the introduction of another invasive, garlic mustard.

Buckthorn Wrench

The City has purchased a tool designed to help remove buckthorn. The tool is available to residents for use on their private property for a two day rental period. A replacement/damage deposit fee of $20 is required.

Residential buckthorn removal

The city encourages residents to remove buckthorn from their yards. By leaving it in your yard, particularly the female, berry-producing plants, there is a greater chance of it spreading through your neighborhood.

When to remove

Fall (through winter) is the best time to remove buckthorn from your yard. During this timeframe, buckthorn leaves will be green while native plant leaves will have turned color or dropped to the ground, making it easier to distinguish between the two. Female buckthorn plants will keep their black berries well into early winter. If you must choose, remove the female buckthorn first so you will have fewer plants seeding in the spring.

How to remove

Buckthorn can be removed mechanically or chemically. With either option, the stump must be killed, or the plant will re-sprout and continue to grow.

  • Uproot/pull up the plant — Buckthorn can be pulled out by hand or with a weed wrench. Some hardware stores will rent out weed wrenches. The city also loans out weed wrenches at no cost (a $20 refundable deposit is required). Reserve the wrench by calling city hall at 952.960.7900.

  • Cut stems to the ground and chemically treat them — Apply a chemical treatment to the stems, stump and exposed root flares soon after cutting them. The most common treatments are Glyphosate (Roundup) or Tryclopyamine (Ortho Brush B-Gon). Chemicals applied in the fall or winter months are effective because the plant is dormant, and the herbicide is transported to the root system.

After removal, plants can be cut into 4-foot lengths, bundled and set out for your weekly yard waste collection or taken to a brush drop-off site

Note: It is important to monitor and continue treating the area if needed since buckthorn seeds can remain viable for up to five years in the soil. When small they are easy to pull out by hand.


Visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' website, for more information on buckthorn control or help identifying the plant visit.