Common buckthorn(Rhamnus cathartica) 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.
NOTE: If you receive a "sign in" message, click cancel to continue. Confirmed observations of Common buckthorn submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database. For more information, visit iMapInvasives
Buckthorns are adapted to a wide variety of site conditions and may be found along forest edges, right-of-ways, in canopy openings, and in 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.