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Replace Buckthorn Hedges With Non-Invasive Plants

European Buckthorn has been used extensively over the years in landscapes. However, all forms of this plant are now categorized as restricted noxious weeds in Minnesota . The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association encourages consumers to remove buckthorn from landscapes, and replace with shrubs or small trees.

Common buckthorn ( Rhamnus cathartica ) was widely planted in hedgerows through the 1930s. Beginning in the late 1960s, Glossy Buckthorn ( Frangula alnus- formerly Rhamnus frangula ) was sold as the cultivar ‘Columnaris,' otherwise known as Tallhedge Glossy Buckthorn. Its narrow and upright growing habit made it useful for screening in narrow planting sites. In the late 1980s, another cultivar of Glossy Buckthorn, Fernleaf Buckthorn ( Frangula alnus ‘ Asplenifolia'), was sold as a special landscape item.

All forms of European buckthorn are invasive plants in the Midwest . They produce many seeds that are spread by birds, as well as seedling plants that are often found in cultivated landscapes. Woodlands and wetlands throughout the upper Midwest are now infested with these unwanted plants. Buckthorn crowds out more desirable plants and becomes a serious weed problem in both urban and rural areas. Because of its invasiveness, buckthorn is categorized as a restricted noxious weed in Minnesota . Selling or planting buckthorn in Minnesota is not permitted.

There are numerous woody plant alternatives available that can be used as replacements to create attractive hedges or screens. Consult with staff at your local nursery or garden center about removing buckthorn and selecting plant materials that will work best in your landscape. The following list includes a number of shrubs and small trees that will work well as hedges to help define a space in the landscape, or to create a visual or physical barrier.

Hedges for Minnesota

Amelanchier or Serviceberry Black Chokeberry Viburnum Varieties
Korean Littleleaf Boxwood Dogwood Species Hedge Cotoneaster
Japanese Yews Hydrangea varieties Juniper Species
Mockorange Ninebark White Spruce
White Pine or Mugo Pine Purpleleaf Sand Cherry Nanking Cherry
Alpine Currant Spirea varieties Lilac Varieties
Arborvitae or White Cedar Rainbow Pillar Serviceberry  

To find a garden center or landscape professional in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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