Buckthorn species replaced by native pines and spruces

Horticulture students plant trees at Linden Hill By Tina SnellStaff Writer Last year, Little Falls Community High School students cut down nearly 800 invasive buckthorn plants growing on Linden Hill’s property. The stumps were treated to prevent resprouting.

The Department of Natural Resources then came in and studied the Musser pond. Representatives made determinations on what could be planted and could not.

Little Falls Community High School Students in Doug Ploof’s horticulture class spent class time May 2 planting 100 trees at Linden Hill. Pictured are (top photo): Abby Thoma planting an eastern white pine and (right): Austin Nguyen planting a white spruce.

Little Falls Community High School Students in Doug Ploof’s horticulture class spent class time May 2 planting 100 trees at Linden Hill. Pictured are (top photo): Abby Thoma planting an eastern white pine and (below): Austin Nguyen planting a white spruce.

On May 2, students from Doug Ploof’s horticulture class returned to Linden Hill and planted 50 each eastern white pine and white spruce trees on the hill descending to Musser Pond.

“We are planting the trees for the beauty and because strong trees deter invasive species,” said Denis Dolan, chair of the Garden and Grounds Committee at Linden Hill.

While not the easiest place to plant trees, the students were troopers. They hauled buckets of water up and down the hill, spaded up areas for the trees while doing their best to stay in one spot on the steep slopes. Then they carefully planted the 100 trees, making sure they were in good dirt well watered.

“You cannot teach this in a classroom,” said Dolan.

The buckthorn trees which were removed from Linden Hill deterred growth of native plants because of its dense shade. It also degrades wildlife habitat, threatens the future of the forest, wetland, prairie or other natural habitat and contributes to erosion by shading out other plants.

Austin-NguyenBuckthorn serves as a host to other pests such as fungus and soybean aphids, creates messy fruits which stain sidewalks and driveways and lacks natural controls that could control its growth.

The buckthorn was first brought to the U.S. from Europe in the mid-1800s as a popular hedging. It spread and became a nuisance plant, crowding out native species. Buckthorn is found in most Minnesota counties.

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