Today I was part of a volunteer team that cut back just over 800 square metres (roughly 8600 sq. ft.) of sea buckthorn encroaching onto a nature reserve, which basically came down to lopping and sawing, while avoiding getting covered in thorn scratches and berry juice, followed by burning.

Once that is complete, the roots need to be dug up. And it grows back at an astonishing rate.

My question is - are there any more effective ways to remove it?


2 Answers 2


I can't see how there can be any options other than strong weedkillers or physical removal, and obviously blanket use of weedkillers is out of the question in this case.

What we did in a similar situation in Texas with Ligustrum (brushy/woody invasive but no berries and no spines as such; known as 'privet' in the UK) is to cut it down to ground level, and then brush a kill-everything bush weedkiller (eg. Bush-B-Gone) directly on the fresh stumps. That is sufficient to kill the roots, and the application is localized to the stump only.


Have you considered goats? (I have no idea if they'll munch on sea buckthorn, but it might be something to consider.)

We're investigating grazing sheep on ~4 acres (~1.5 hectare) where wild blackberries are a problem and have been told that they will help keep it under control.

If not goats, other livestock may work. (Pigs, from what I understand, may be of some assistance with digging up the roots. Just don't let them get loose into your reserve, because then you've got a problem with pig control instead of weed control...)

You said in a comment:

In this instance it wouldn't work for the very reason you state - there is no separation between the buckthorn and the reserve.

(Again, I have no direct experience, though a friend of mine keeps goats and I've done research to see what would work for us.) Depending on the type of goat you may be able to keep them in an area with portable electric fencing and a small portable fence charger.

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