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Common Buckthorn – Another Invasive Species in Northern Minnesota and the BWCA

Buckthorn coming to the BWCA?

Buckthorn could take over the BWCA

Common Buckthorn – Another Invasive Species -by Mark Haarman

It stopped me cold. My heart sank, then I began to fulminate. But don’t do that in public. Don’t stand cursing at a tree as I did, since it’s termed ‘probable cause’ in law enforcement. The act of even talking at a tree is concern, even thought I’ve enjoyed addressing towering white pines that take my breath away, or the beauty of young ones that grace the land where I’ve planted and walked among them as in a church. No no no, this shock took place on Harvey street in town, in Ely, on a front yard, in plain view, right next door to a friends house and it’s decorated during Christmas. The tree was BUCKTHORN and cursing this tree was necessary, justified and I do it every day. This buckthorn if you don’t know already is THE curse and if we’re not judicious, it will in scientific fact, cover the Boundary Waters.

Dr. Peter Reich, Dr. Lee Frelich, head forest ecologists at the U of M in St. Paul, know all about it. Haven’t you read their warnings? Reich asked me if I was available to keep it from inside our wilderness, and I asked what if it’s too late? Bill Tefft, from Vermilion C C knows all about it. It’s on campus at VCC. It’s peppered around Miners Lake. It remains in full view on the Trezona Trail. It’s a nightmare. Common Buckthorn. And blame it on the British since that’s where it came from, just like our politics. We planted it for privacy, for hedges, windrows and even built furniture from it. Now, we have to BAN it. Message to the USDA: BAN COMMON BUCKTHORN. It’s not just noxious anymore.

The females bear the fruit, small dark blueberry sized berries. The robins, the waxwings, the whitetail deer. It’s like fast food, they eat it. The berry has seeds in it that are almost totally indigestible. The critters eat it then distribute the seeds. It ain’t no Mulberry tree with delicious fruit. No no no, buckthorn fruit and seeds. Not good. Any good about this species is that it’s a hard wood, so put it in your fireplace. And let’s not find ourselves like the city of Minnetonka, Roseville and even Duluth. They can’t keep up with it, where it’s consumed park lands and taken over forests, killing everything trying to grow next to it. It’s in 27 states around the country. It stops sunlight, chokes wildflowers to their slow death, and oh yeah, it’s got THORNS. Go figure. It’s like VISA, it’s everywhere you want to be.

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