Removal Method - Pulling

Buckthorn removal can be an overwhelming process. The best way to start is by evaluating your property. Check the area for young oaks, cherries and dogwoods. Mark these valuable trees with flagging and cage young oaks to protect them. Removing and controlling buckthorn will be a multiple year process, so don’t feel like you need to remove it all at once. To see the best way to prioritize your buckthorn removal, see the Buckthorn Removal Priority Chart (PDF).

Pulling buckthorn is the best method if:

  • If the buckthorn is small (1-inch in diameter or less).
  • If there is little desirable native plants in the area that may also be uprooted, like ferns and wildflowers.
  • The removal area is not sloped

Buckthorn can be pulled by hand or with a tool. After pulling buckthorn, shake the dirt from the roots and avoid allowing the Buckthorn removal methodroots to contact the soil, where it may be able to continue to grow. Make sure to firm up the soil that was disturbed by lightly tamping it down with your foot.

One tool that makes pulling buckthorn much easier is a weed wrench. These tools are available for a two week rental from the City for a returnable deposit of $150 dollars. Weed wrenches are available from the City maintenance facility by appointment only. Due to concerns related to COVID-19, our rental process has changed from previous years.

Updated Weed Wrench Rental Process  

  • The tool is only available to Burnsville residents.
  • To schedule a rental appointment call 952-895-4550
  • To view and print the rental agreement form, click here.  Forms will not be provided for completion at your appointment.
  • You must bring your completed rental agreement form and check payable to the City of Burnsville in the amount of $150 to your appointment.
  • Include a rental period of two weeks from pickup date on the agreement.  Rental periods will not be extended.
  • Appointments will be scheduled for pickup and return of the weed wrench.
  • Deposit checks will be given back at return appointments if equipment is returned in working order.

Questions on how to use the tool, or about this program, should be directed to 952-895-4543. 

The information provided in the links below will walk you through identifying, removing, treating with herbicide and what to do when buckthorn is gone. Want a shortened version? View a two page identification and control guide (PDF).

Identifying Buckthorn

Removal Method - Pulling

Removal Method - Cutting

Tips on Herbicide Use

Disposal of Buckthorn

Replacement Plantings

Additional resources

Take Back Your Woods - Identification and Control Guide (PDF)

Still have questions? Contact the City Natural Resources Department at 952-895-4543 or email.