The Uses for Buckthorn

Certain species of plants and trees display aggressive habits, making them a nuisance to homeowners and gardeners. Although aggressive species of plants may present some difficulties in yards and parks, these varieties fulfill several purposes in the landscape. One type of aggressive vegetation, the buckthorn tree, produces branches with spiny thorns, making it an enemy of many gardeners. This type of tree also provides beneficial qualities that may help make up for its painful, prickly thorns.


Planted in single or double rows, buckthorn trees grow into useful hedgerows that mark property lines and act as wind blocks, protecting nearby plants and structures. These trees grow to a height between 10 and 25 feet, making them useful in areas where tall vegetation is not required. Their quick rate of growth can benefit farmers and landowners who require rapid growth and establishment. These thorny barriers may also reduce the amount of unwanted visitors, keeping neighborhood dogs and children off your property.

Seasonal Displays

Buckthorn trees supply a range of scenic attraction in the landscape. The green glossy foliage supplies fresh color near the outside edges of property, as well as small, yellow blossoms in the springtime and attractive berries in the fall. The berries ripen into clusters of small, dark blue fruits. Planted in a deep root barrier, singular plantings can provide attractive ornamental centerpieces in areas without traffic.

Welcome Wildlife

While butterflies and bees enjoy visiting the buckthorn’s blossoms in the spring, native birds enjoy eating the berries in the fall. Buckthorn trees may increase the number of wildlife in your yard and provide food for nearby squirrels, raccoons, deer and mice.

Control Erosion

Buckthorn trees tolerate a variety of soil and climate conditions, making them ideal for locations where other vegetation won’t grow. The roots of these trees can guard against wind and soil erosion. Commonly found along banks and hillsides, soil erosion can deplete the ground of its nutritious layer of topsoil and lead to unsightly landscapes.

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About this Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear in Modern Mom, Biz Mojo, Walden University and GardenGuides. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.