Common buckthorn species is a deciduous shrub or small tree that can reach heights of 20 feet. Its main stem can grow up to 10 inches in diameter but is more commonly 1-3 inches in shrub form. Leaves are dark green and oval with toothed margins and 3-5 pairs of distinct upcurved veins. The twigs of common buckthorn are often tipped with a sharp spine. Small, round, black berries ripen in the fall and serve as the primary spread mechanism for this species.
Confirmed observations of Common buckthorn submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database. For more information, visit iMapInvasives
Buckthorn is adapted to a wide variety of site conditions and may be found along forest edges, right-of-ways, in canopy openings, and open forested wetlands. Common buckthorn is most common in dry sites.
Threats & Impacts:
Common buckthorn grows in dense thickets that crowd and shade out native shrubs and herbaceous species. Severe infestations may limit the regeneration of native tree seedlings.
Mechanical - small plants can be removed with a shovel or weed wrench. The entire root system must be removed to prevent resprouting. Remove plants before fruit production to minimize additional spread.
Chemical - selective herbicide applications can be used to control larger individuals or infestations. Glyphosate can be applied as a foliar spray or cut stem application. For best results, treatments should be performed during periods of active growth and full leaf expansion. Triclopyr based products can be used as a basal bark spray. Always consult and follow the herbicide product label.