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How to Eliminate Buckthorn Trees?

Link on the University of Wisconsin News site with the Buckthorn Baggie story.

Here is Buckthorn Baggie in the Pioneer Press Newspaper (click) 


By KATIE KATHER | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: May 12, 2015 at 9:32 am | UPDATED: October 28, 2015 at 1:36 am

Little black bags dot a Mississippi River bluff tucked behind River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.
The bags — secured over buckthorn stumps with zip ties — are designed to get rid of the invasive plant without using chemicals.
Matt Hamilton, a college junior from Woodbury, spent three years inventing Buckthorn Baggies with his father, John Hamilton. They started selling the bags last year and filed a patent that is still pending.
His mother helps fill orders for their 200-plus clients from the kitchen table while Matt’s away at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a degree in engineering, John Hamilton said.
The father-son team has been battling buckthorn for as long as Matt Hamilton could remember. John Hamilton used to enlist his son’s help every spring to tackle the pesky plant.
Something clicked when Matt was in high school.
“I was helping him remove the buckthorn, and I was like, ‘Man we keep doing this every year, and it’s a pain,’ ” he said.
So they started experimenting with bags. Clear plastic didn’t work very well because it didn’t block the sunlight, Matt Hamilton said.
He spent the summer after graduating from high school making and ordering plastic bags, experimenting with size, material and thickness.
Finally, father and son settled on a thick, black plastic bag. Every 10th bag has a label listing their website and a “Do not remove” warning.
For nonprofits battling buckthorn, they provide five free bags with every 30-pack order.
At less than a dollar a bag, the venture isn’t much of a money-maker, John Hamilton said.
“But it’s the buckthorn battle,” he quipped. “Once you start doing it, it takes over. … Yes, it is like an addiction.”
The bags on the river bluff in Cottage Grove were placed by the nonprofit Friends of the Mississippi River, which is working with the Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation Department to clear buckthorn at River Oaks Scenic Overlook.
The group began to experiment with the bags at the overlook about a year ago, said current ecologist Alex Roth.
“It’s an ecologically sensitive area with some native prairie, and we didn’t want to use chemicals,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with what we’ve seen out there so far,” Roth said. “This is good with small infestations of buckthorn with relatively few stems, but it would be hard to apply on a big scale.”
Peter Mott, Washington County parks manager, just learned about Buckthorn Baggies, but he’s interested in the product and how it could be used by his department, he said.
It’s a cut-and-cover method that many people have experimented with over the years, Mott said.
“They’re starving that stump of any sunlight, and that will not allow that stump to regrow,” he said.
Mott remembers his grandmother using Folgers coffee cans to cover buckthorn. People have also used PVC piping to shade the stump, but nothing has captured the market’s attention, he said — until now.
Ecologist Roth said the bags are a good idea, even though they might not work in every situation.
“It’s important to have multiple tools in your toolkit,” he said.
Buckthorn Baggie client Margo Gauthier has been trying to rid her 14-acre Buffalo, Minn., property of buckthorn for years.
“I stumbled across them (on the Internet) and thought ‘Oh my goodness, why haven’t I thought of this myself?’ ” Gauthier said.
“I had been using cans for years — soup cans, tomato cans, coffee cans — whatever people had saved for me,” she said.
She just started using the bags this spring and is excited about a solution that’s free of chemicals and doesn’t disturb the surrounding soil the way pulling out the roots does.
She also likes that the bags are reusable.
Although she hasn’t used them for a full season yet, she’s quite certain they will work. “It’s just basic science,” she said.
For John Hamilton, it’s one more reason to be proud of his son.
“He’s such a good kid,” he said.
Father and son remember that a fifth-grade inventors’ fair at Bailey Elementary School in Woodbury made an impression on Matt.
“Since then,” John Hamilton said, “he had it in his head that whenever there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity for an invention.”
Katie Kather can be reached at 651-228-5006. Follow her at

Getting rid of buckthorn:

To control buckthorn no longer do buckthorn busters need to wait until the fall to start the process of controlling buckthorn.  Spring and Summer, and fall is by far the best time of year to start removing buckthorn with the buckthorn baggie.  When using the cut and cover method to remove buckthorn, anytime of year is fine.  The cut and cover method is gaining attention as an effective buckthorn removal technique because no chemicals are used and several plants can be killed during the spring and into summer verses allowing buckthorn plants to grow and spread during the summer.  Using this method, the roots of the plant are not uprooted which therefore disallows new seeds from germinating which could possibly make the buckthorn invasion worse.  Leaving the plant's roots in the ground also helps control erosion.  Quite possibly the best way how to kill buckthorn.  Killing buckthorn has never been so easy and effective.

The Buckthorn Baggie is designed and manufactured specifically for the control of buckthorn but can be used on any plant that does not use rhizomes for new growth. After cutting the buckthorn plant down, the Buckthorn Baggie can be zip-tied onto the stump to kill the plant.  Controlling buckthorn with no chemicals!

Currently the Buckthorn Baggie is being used on over 12 different invasive plants.

How to kill buckthorn video links are on this site please see "the baggie" page for more info

Like Autumn Olive, Fig trees, invasive maple trees, the list goes on.

Pioneer Press Article on How to kill buckthorn

Read More how to eradicate buckthorn

 A "Buckthorn Removal with Buckthorn Baggie" news article was published in The Prairie Enthusiast's quarterly Prairie Promoter Newsletter.  Many people have chosen to remove buckthorn without chemicals.  Killing buckthorn is easy with this method.

Click on the 2014 fall issue :-)

Buckthorn Removal Techniques and The Baggie

Removing Buckthorn the Easy Way: 

The goal is to eradicate buckthorn plants and remove and control buckthorn plants without the use of chemicals or uprooting and disturbing ground soil with a buckthorn puller or broom which would allow more buckthorn seeds to germinate. It can be used anytime of the year for buckthorn removal. This bag can be used on other invasive plants as well that do not use root suckers to re-sprout.  Hillsides are a very common place to use the Buckthorn Baggie to help stop any erosion that would happen if the plants roots are removed.  Killing buckthorn has never been so easy without the use of chemicals.  Many groups of girl scouts have used the buckthorn baggie to remove buckthorn plants.  The boy scouts have found not using chemicals allows troops to do total buckthorn removal from start to finish.  How to kill buckthorn without chemicals has arrived.  Controlling Buckthorn and Killing Buckthorn has never been so easy!

Read More

Best Way of Eradicating Buckthorn With No Chemicals:

Removing buckthorn with a buckthorn baggie allows many volunteer groups to do total eradication because no chemical license is needed.

Buckthorn control is needed because buckthorn plants out-compete native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture.

Buckthorn can degrade wildlife habitat areas and threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies, and other natural habitats. Buckthorn contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor, and serve as host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid. Buckthorn also lacks "natural controls" like insects or disease that would curb its growth. How to eliminate buckthorn is an issue we can win!!! Buckthorn removal is never been this easy.

Patent Pending

Purchase Now - For USA Orders

Canadian orders please use button below under Canada Orders

1 out of every 10 Buckthorn Baggies have a "Do Not Remove" sticker on the baggie.  If you want more than that, please request it in the "Notes to Seller" section of your order.

30 Baggies

$39.99 + $9.99 S&H

100 Baggies


200 Baggies

$154.99 + 19.99S&H

500 Baggies


100 Extra Zip Ties For Use on Trees over 3" Diameter

$9.99 (Free shipping with baggie purchase)

100 Extra Zip Ties For Use on Trees over 3" Diameter

$9.99 (3.99 shipping without baggie purchase)

Purchase Now - For Canada Purchases 

30 Baggies

$39.99 + $34.99 S&H

100 Baggies

$89.99 + 49.99 S&H

200 Baggies

$154.99 + 69.99S&H

500 Baggies


We do accept checks for orders as well. 

1 out of every 10 Buckthorn Baggies have a "Do Not Remove" sticker on the baggie.  If you want more than that, please request it in the "Notes to Seller" section of your order.

For every 30 pack order - 5 Buckthorn Baggies will be donated and for every 100 pack order - 15 Buckthorn Baggies will be donated to a non-profit organization to help in the buckthorn battle.