Buckthorn

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by Jon, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Location:
    Tully, NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Buckthorn is pretty prevalent on my land. Fearing that it will continue to expand through seeds via birds tractors atvs how do you all eradicate or handle it on your land?

    In some areas the combo of vine and buckthorn makes some pretty nice bedding but in more open hardwoods setting where it’s going to complete with hard maple and other hardwood species saplings I’m trying to eliminate it... I guess I want it both ways ;).
     
  2. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    northern New York
    Hardiness Zone:
    literally on the line of 4b/5a
    Jon, Buckthorn is the absolutely worst invasive growing in our area and you are right to be concerned. There are sections on my property over run with Buckthorn that are beyond saving by me and other sections that still contain diversity of other plant growth. Other than a full time,long term, all out war on them, I don't know how to eliminate it completely when it is so entrenched as it is here. On other properties in this area there is close to zero anything except Buckthorn, Honeysuckle bush, Multi-Flora Rose and Prickly Ash. None of them appear to be "naturally" invasive here but rather survive,thrive, multiply and spread wherever deer have over browsed an area for a long period. This is the long way of saying that the number one defense against these nearly useless plants is to keep the deer population in sync with what your property can sustain. One measurement of sustainability is taking a browse survey of preferred deer foods this time of year, if greater than 50% of the browse is eaten then some does should be removed. If more than 70% then a lot more does should be removed. Here it takes about one year to go from 70% to 98% of browse eaten and at that point it is past due time to drastically reduce the doe population and for more reasons than the inevitable Buckthorn invasion.

    Having it both ways,that is maintaining the Buckthorn cover and keeping it from spreading is to simply kill all of the seedlings as they appear and eliminate all of the mature female Buckthorn trees;I use the word simply because it really is but it is a daunting task physically. "Female" trees are recognizable by their purple berries very visible in the fall. Marking the "female" trees each fall sets you up for a winter of working on your Buckthorn hit list. Yes the seeds from trees past last a long time in the ground and some can and do germinate many years after they have fallen so there will always be some seedlings in need of killing each year even with future seed production halted.

    If you are only a little concerned about the Buckthorn and not completely panicked at this point then you are welcome to come up to our area in New York and I'll take you on a tour where you will see where millions or maybe billions of Buckthorn trees have taken over the landscape and eliminated the lands ability to grow deer.
     
  3. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Location:
    Tully, NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Chainsaw, thank you for creating panic (JK). So I have different areas on the property where buckthorn is present and some of its co-located near new regen areas that if not kept in check with take over the areas or at least promote growth of existing plants. These plants mostly range from 1-2 inch stem diameter. The exterior edges of my land have much better sunlight are starting to see the influx/intrusion of MFR and bush honeysuckle (and buckthorn), but those are probably a 2, 3 priority at this point. My area is not as entrenched like yours (sorry to hear that), I do have some sizeable plants (some are female of course that are larger and receive more sunlight -hence the better growth rate- those will likely need to be sawed and stump treated).Im just wondering what has worked best for taking them out. I suspect time of year and herbicide recommendations are start on for me. I just took at looked at the MN DNR page for recommendations, but I want personal experiences, etc.

    In the native browse category you are discussing I have little to no young regeneration (young forest) so its a really negligible point to contend with for measuring interest. Im working to fix that and of course I tied in a bunch of improvements all at the same time on my land, carving out food areas (as dozers were present during logging), opening up large areas of the canopy, building soil, dealing with erosion control, etc. My plan assumed the next move after logging is dealing with the micro factors (which aren't that micro) of dealing with invasive and understanding how to best promote regen on the landscape, which to me is a science project. Dealing with an influx of deer IMO is best handled by overwhelming them or maybe hoping they wont notice for a few years as the improvements take shape (JK, but I can hope)... so If I could not have deer for 2-3 years Id be super happy!!!! That wont be the case and I am hopeful other areas around me partake in doe removal as well as focus on ag and habitat gains through some improvements. My specific areas abuts some serious good hunting, but the land I own isn't the best draw due to a host of factors and I was abosuletly ok with that... weird how that works right :), but it has the potential and topography and that's really the reason I bought it (I guess more to come on that discussion once I do a "show me the land forum").

    Anyhow, like I said I am just starting to micro manage the logging areas for higher regen % and some of those areas that have some middle age forest nearby have been moderate to less progressive in the growth department due to vine. The combo of buckthorn and vine tend to be in those areas, working to create structure, shading out growth as a negative, but creating cover which is a benefit IMO. The pockets of cover (where buckthorn is present) are very easy to clean up and promote as areas of interest, but now I think that managing at least the females in those areas may be a start because the deer/birds and other critters could displace seed much easier. So I am a lover and hatter all in the same moment of the cover aspect. So I have decided to really start where the getting is good and focus on the multitude of easy accessible stems of buckthorn that aren't interspersed with the grape vine, which provide zero cover, then once that's taken care of start to engage the female variety in the cover areas.... whatever the plan all this take a lot of time hence my post
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  4. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    northern New York
    Hardiness Zone:
    literally on the line of 4b/5a
    You are on the right track Jon. We have significantly less Buckthorn than most area properties because we have put in some effort towards controlling the buck thorn. We didn't do enough though. Something we stumbled on regarding grape vines was we cut each of them twice. The first cut was at about waist level and the second at ground level. Many of the vines hanging at waist level became licking sticks and would have ground scrapes under them. Grape vines at ground level create deer browse so we do not kill them after cutting. We have killed some but eventually realized that for us it was better to have the browse and re-cut the vines years later when they eventually became a nuisance again.

    We have removed a lot of buckthorn this time of year over the years with the tractor. We simply push them over with the tractor bucket and then push them into a large pile out of our way. With the high water tables here this time of year they are easy for the tractor to push them over. A flat tire now and then is expected but the live buckthorn doesn't seem to penetrate tires as much as the dried out ones so we make it a habit to push them to their final resting place quickly. We also hired a bulldozer one year to clear a pure one acre stand of very mature buck thorn. That worked out good; the bulldozer got a lot done in a relatively short amount of time.

    I have cut with the chainsaw thousands of buckthorn maybe and the one to three inch ones are easy but the larger ones with multi-trunks are a real hassle. They twist and turn, fall on you and bend up chains pretty regularly. Sawing the mature ones down is definitely not the preferred method nor the safest. When I have sprayed the trunks with a heavy roundup solution, it has helped to avoid re-sprouting but regrettably we didn't know about that in our earlier years.

    We have not tried the other chemicals sprayed to the base that others have mentioned on this site in the past.

    Good luck in your battle to eliminate it from your property; Since buckthorn is growing on your property then likely it is also on most properties in your area. Helping others in your area understand what could happen to their properties would be a great service to them and would help the deer in your area as well. Most people here though just look at me as if I'm on another planet when I bring up the subject of invasive plants and why many area properties are having poor deer hunting so sadly you may find that also.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  5. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Location:
    Tully, NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Thank you for all the information. Very helpful!
     

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