Buckthorn Blitz

We have been hired to clean up a hillside full of Buckthorn.  The site is just beautiful; a steep Northern and Western slope over-looking Nagawicka Lake in Delafield.  The slope is dotted with large mature Oak trees and it is a very majestic view once the Buckthorn are removed.

Buchthorn removal involves cutting the Buckthorn to the ground and then spraying it with some sort of herbicide.  We started this project three years ago and are really just finishing up the first stage this week (weather permitting).  Not that we’ve been working on it non-stop.  The work has been rather fragmented with a few days here and a few days there.  We hit it pretty good for a couple of weeks in 2009, skipped it entirely in 2010 and now we are back at it for 10 days in 2011.  For proper application of the herbicide, we need to be able to spray the cut stump down to the ground level.  This becomes a bit of a problem when the snow gets deep.  In the begining of the winter we were working in an area that was mostly small twiggy growth and the snow was light and fluffy, so we just wisked it away to spray.  Once the snow got heavy and frozen, we could no longer just wisk it away, so we waited for the weather to help us out.  Whenever the snow melted enough to give us access, we tried to get in for a day or two of work.

In some areas the Buckthorn had been cut before and it is really coming back with a vengeance.  In other areas it had never been cut as far as I can tell and we are removing plants of 6″-8″ diameter in some cases.  We aren’t hauling the wood out, due to the steep hill.  Instead we are just cutting it up and leaving it on site.  In a way, this might be better, at least we’re not spreading the berries across the property trying to move this stuff.  I’ve read that the berries can still be viable up to seven years in the future.  Wow, I guess we’ll be tending to this hillside for many years to come.  Hopefully in future years we can just run through with a brush cutter for a few days rather than needing the chainsaw.

I’ll check back.

Doug

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