Common and glossy buckthorn are two shrubs brought into Minnesota from Europe in the 1800’s as hedge plants. Buckthorn is considered a restricted noxious weed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which means nursery production and sale of buckthorn in Minnesota is banned.

Environmental Impact

Birds easily spread buckthorn seed from one site to another. As a result buckthorn has escaped from yards and gardens and invaded wooded areas throughout the state.

Buckthorn shrubs are very aggressive and completely replace the native shrub layer (understory) that grows beneath the mature trees in the forest. The dense shade provided by buckthorn causes native wildflowers and grasses to decline.  Dense thickets of buckthorn reduce visibility along pathways and at intersections, decreasing your enjoyment and sense of safety.

MPRB Management Priorities

Buckthorn is a dominant shrub species in our forested park areas and buckthorn hedges can still be found in many Minneapolis yards. Buckthorn is a very persistent plant and ripe seeds can live in the soil for up to 7 years after they have fallen off the tree.  Removal of mature buckthorn from forested areas requires effort and resources. Control of the shrub is ongoing, as seed sources are present throughout the city. MPRB staff and volunteers focus work on buckthorn control projects in the priority natural areas defined in the MPRB’S Comprehensive Plan and along designated trails and roads where it can become a visibility and safety concern.

What You Can Do

While there are no Ordinances or Laws that require property owners to buckthorn from their property, we encourage you and your neighbors to remove it from your yard to reduce the spread of the plant.  Removal and disposal of large quantities of plants can be done by tree and landscape companies licensed by the City of Minneapolis. 

The MPRB does not remove buckthorn or haul brush from private property.

Volunteer for one of our fall buckthorn removal projects in our park natural areas.


For more information, contact the Forestry Department at 612-313-7710 or forestry@minneapolisparks.org.