Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) is a small tree or shrub native to Eurasia. It produces pea-sized fruits that ripen from green to red to dark purple.
Glossy Buckthorn is very aggressive in wet areas. It produces dense shade that eliminates other trees and ground species.
Habitat: woodland edges with full sun to heavy shade, fens. Most aggressive in wet soil but also found in dryer areas.
Flowers: 1 to 8 small, pale yellow flowers with 5 petals clustered in leaf axils. Blooms late May to first frost.
Fruit: progressively ripen from red to dark purple. Pea-sized. Develop early June through September. The seeds remain viable in the soil for two to three years.
Bark: gray or brown with prominent, closely spaced, often elongated light colored lenticels.
The most effective control is manual removal of plants before they go to fruit. When a large number of buckthorn seedlings are present, controlled burning can be used. Late fall is the ideal time for chemical control because most native plants are dormant at that time and the chemicals are easily drawn toward the roots with the natural sap flow. Cut-stump treatment using 20 – 25% A.I. Glyphosate or 12.5% A.I. Triclopyr has been effective.
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