Cover it up! Using plants to control buckthorn
Peter Reich, Forest Resources
Minnesotans spend millions each year removing buckthorn from their properties. Yet owners find the invasive shrub returning to the same spots again and again. This vicious cycle happens because buckthorn is better at filling empty spaces in an ecosystem than most other native plants.
“Cover it Up!,” led by MITPPC-funded ecologist Peter Reich, is looking to develop strategies that will improve and diversify the native plant community while keeping buckthorn away for good. Together with more than a dozen local partner organizations, Reich’s team is finding that native grasses, wildflowers, sedges, ferns and juvenile trees can provide enough shade to prevent new buckthorn growth.
- What native planting techniques can reduce the recurrence of buckthorn after removal?
- How much shade is needed to prevent buckthorn from thriving?
This work could change the way we think about buckthorn management, helping Minnesota land managers save significant time and money in their long-term restoration efforts.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Friends of the Mississippi, St. Croix Watershed Research Station, Stantec
Peter Reich, principal investigator
Lee Frelich, co-principal investigator
Peter Wragg, post-doctoral associate
Michael Schuster, post-doctoral associate
News & Publications
- "Cover it Up 2" Project Website
- Using revegetation to suppress invasive plants in grasslands and forests (Journal of Applied Ecology, 2018)
- "Battling buckthorn to restore natural resistance" Science Museum of Minnesota
Invasive plants in Minnesota are “joining the locals”: A trait‐based analysis (Journal of Vegetation Science, 2018)
A tale of two studies: Detection and attribution of the impacts of invasive plants in observational surveys (Journal of Applied Ecology, 2017)
"U faculty among global list of highly cited researchers" UMN Office of the Vice President for Research