Need identification help at your home?

We provide Buckthorn Assessments on your property. During a brief visit we will:

Locate representative Buckthorn specimens 
Identify and tag the samples
Provide detailed removal instructions
Offer ecologically valuable replacement suggestions
Suggest preferred providers for professional removal

$75 assessment fee
(includes individual annual membership to AOF)

Current donors receive $50 off the assessment fee.  Please email us to register.

Register for a Buckthorn Assessment


European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a shrub that grows up to 25 feet tall. It is a European native which comes as male or female. It was brought to the U.S. in the 1840s and farmers used it as natural fencing. Unfortunately, it has no natural predators or diseases to limit its spread. It has overtaken natural and residential areas in much of Northern Illinois.

Why is Buckthorn so destructive?

Buckthorn spreads insidiously. A full-grown female plant produces thousands of purple berries. Birds eat the berries which are spread through droppings. The seeds sprout near trees and fence lines, monopolizing light and soil nutrients. Within a few years, Buckthorn shades out desirable plants in residential and natural areas. Its roots produce a chemical that inhibits growth of native plants. As a result, valuable plants are unable to reproduce, thereby decreasing your landscape’s monetary and ecological value.