DNR: Buckthorn continuing to spread across Minnesota

- It is a problem the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says is only getting worse. Buckthorn, an invasive shrub, continues to spread across much of the state, choking out native species in the process.

“It comes out early in the spring, it stays later in the fall so it out competes our native species,” Susan Burks, an invasive species specialist with the DNR Forestry Department, said. 

Burks says fighting the shrub is a top priority, but wiping it out may be impossible. Buckthorn can be found across most of central and southern Minnesota. Experts say it was originally brought to the upper Midwest as an ornamental shrub over 100 years ago. It has spread quickly due largely to birds that often eat the plant's berries, thus spreading the seeds across the state.

At the moment, no state funds exist to fight the shrub on private lands. The DNR advises private land owners to cut down and dig up the roots of buckthorn to prevent its spread.

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