Posted at: 10/04/2012 5:41 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Dry Conditions Help Nature Center Tackle Invasive Species
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It came to Minnesota as a decorative plant and has grown out of control.
Thursday, a conservation crew was deep in the woods to try to control it.
"We're here to get rid of buckthorn. It's an invasive species," said James Reeve, a member of a Conservation Corps of Minnesota crew that has spent this week at the Hormel Nature Center in Austin.
"It's more like a terrestrial version of zebra mussels. It just gets on everything," said crew leader Dylan Olson. "It destroys ecosystems. It's a lot tougher than a lot of the plants we have here. A lot of the trees we have here."
Buckthorn was brought to Minnesota from Europe in the mid 1800's. For a long time, it was a popular hedging material. Then, it ran wild.
"It has it's leaves first. It drops them later, so it can shade out all the native stuff," said crew member James Reeve.
“The trees we're pulling out here, some of them are about 25 years old and they're big enough to shade out some of the oak trees that are 50 years old," crew leader Dylan Olson told us.
And it’s not easy to remove once it takes hold: “Cut it out at ground level, apply herbicide to it which goes down into the route system, destroying the root system," Dylan Olson explained. “Then cut it out, make burn piles. It survives in just about any ecosystem. we've removed it off of prairie, woodland. There’s no check for it in our ecosystem, so we have to be the check."
The Conservation Corps team has been working at the Nature Center since Monday