Buckthorn is a non-native, small, shrubby tree that features small, poisonous berries that ripen in August and are often mistaken for wild cherries.Reaching a height of up to 25 feet, it is common in woodlands, parks and along roads in northeastern United States where it grows alongside other desirable plants and competes for moisture and nutrients. It blossoms earlier than other plants and enters dormancy towards the end of fall. Immediate removal of buckthorn is necessary to prevent it from spreading and growing in size.
Water the area around the buckthorn tree to soften the soil, to make pulling the noxious weed easier. Soak the soil around the trunk for two to four days.
Wear long rubber gloves and pull out seedlings or young plants out of the soil. This method of hand-pulling is only viable for a few scattered plants that are in the beginning stages of growth or have a diameter of up to 3/8 inches. Use a handheld shovel to assist in the uprooting process or to loosen the roots from the soil.
Cut foliage from a larger buckthorn tree with loppers to reduce its size. Collect the foliage in a wheelbarrow for later disposal. Determine the direction in which the tree will fall. Make sure there is no garden structure or building in its way.
Cut the trunk of the tree with a handsaw. Work slowly and carefully until you reach the appropriate trunk depth and it falls in the opposite direction. Also slash the top of the stump so the herbicide penetrates it quicker.
Spray or paint the buckthorn stump with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup. Use a concentrated form, with 25 percent or more glyphosate, easily available from landscape and farm supply stores. Reapply after three days if necessary.
Dig the stump from the soil along with all the roots. Sever larger roots into smaller sections before pulling them out. Chop the trunk into smaller sections and place it in a garbage bag along with the foliage, stump and root. Dispose appropriately to prevent this invasive tree from re-rooting.