How to Identify Buckthorn

One of the most important steps in removing buckthorn is figuring out whether or not you have it on your property! Identifying buckthorn is pretty easy. If you think it looks like buckthorn, it probably is.

There are two species of buckthorn in the area. This page explains how to identify them at different stages of growth.

General Appearance

Buckthorn general appearance

Leaves and Berries

Common and glossy buckthorn leaves

Common and glossy buckthorn berries

Bark and Trunk (similar in both buckthorn species)

Buckthorn Trunk Bark

Don't worry about the small seedlings (see picture below) if you still have larger buckthorn around. But when you have the big stuff under control, you will want to keep an eye out for any seedlings that try to come back. It's a lot less work to pull out a seedling than to cut down a mature buckthorn!

Buckthorn seedlings

Buckthorn Look-a-Like: Black Cherry

Buckthorn look-a-likes

Want to print this to use while you are in the field? View a printable version of this page (PDF) .

What's Next?

The information provided in the links below will walk you through identifying, removing, treating with herbicide and what to do when buckthorn is gone. Want a shortened version? Access a two page identification and control guide (PDF).

Identifying Buckthorn

Removal Method - Pulling

Removal Method - Cutting

Tips on Herbicide Use

Disposal of Buckthorn

Replacement Plantings

Additional Resources

Take Back Your Woods - Identification and Control Guide (PDF)

Still have questions? Contact the City Natural Resources Department at 952-895-4543 or email Caleb Ashling.