Now that the fun stuff (planting flowers and veggies) is mostly done, there's a bigger chore looming in my landscape. Banishing the buckthorn, that nasty invasive that eventually conquers every spot it sprouts.


I hate this chore, in part, because I've been such a failure at it. I didn't even know what buckthorn was when it first started appearing in my yard a few years ago. But it sure was aggressive. Once I figured out what I was dealing with, I hired a guy with a chainsaw to cut it down. He advised me to paint the stumps with Roundup, which I didn't do. I have kids and dogs and hate using toxic chemicals.  

I was shocked to see how fast and how vigorously the buckthorn returned. The next year, I rented a chainsaw myself and hacked the buckthorn down to the stumps. Then my husband and I spent two hours trying, in vain, to dig them up. Those suckers were so deeply rooted we couldn't budge them. Finally my husband said he'd heard you could rent a machine to pull out the stumps. I was more than happy to put down my shovel. But life got busy, and we never got around to renting that machine. 

Now my buckthorn is back with a vengeance, bigger and badder than ever, in more places. It's definitely chainsaw time again, but this time, I'm resolved to finish the job. I've since been told the stump-pulling machines aren't very effective, and that chemicals are the only way to go.  

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a lot of information about buckthorn on its website (   

How do YOU beat buckthorn? What's worked and what hasn't? And is it your least-favorite chore, or is there one you hate even more?