Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Buckthorn Season

with 5 comments

In addition to looking for antlered bucks in the woods this time of year, I am also hunting for buckthorn. Common buckthorn is an invasive tree that I strive to control on our property. In the fall, buckthorn holds its deep green leaves longer than most other growth in our forests, making it easier to spot.

It’s not foolproof though, because I always seem to find a large enough tree that reveals I must have missed it the year before. I think the main reason for this is buckthorn is not the only growth that still has leaves after the majority of the forest turns brown and barren. There is at least one other bush that confuses my hunt.

The main difference I have found is the relative color of green, as can be seen in the picture I took yesterday while Delilah and I were forging our way off-trail to dispatch every invasive we could find. The batch of leaves on the left are a buckthorn I just cut down that must have been missed the year before. The noticeably lighter green leaves on the right are the primary bush that complicates my identifying the unwelcome buckthorn.

When I look into the trees on my neighbor’s unmanaged land, there is an obvious spread of green growth, but ours holds just a fraction of that, only a few of which are the deep green buckthorn.

With this year’s quick jump to Arctic cold and several doses of early snow, the buckthorn hunting season has been shortened. Luckily, I had already done a first-pass through to address the sprouts of growth that are small enough to easily pull by hand before the ground started to freeze.

At that time, I didn’t have my hand saw with me, so I took a mental note of the larger trees I wanted to come back to cut down. When I set out to do that yesterday, I almost failed to find that tree shown in this picture. I needed to get to a place where just the right angle of view made it stand out.

Delilah loves that we need to roam into the middle of the areas we rarely visit, as she is able to find all sorts of disgusting things left behind by the wild forest animals that romp around on our land.

I’m satisfied with the progress this year and ready to consider the hunt complete. There was less growth than previous years, so our efforts are definitely paying off. The view into the adjacent property confirms it.

Our woods look distinctly more managed and that makes trekking through them for year-round forest bathing that much more rewarding.




5 Responses

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  1. Hi John! I love the picture I can see in my mind of your beautiful land and the treks that you and Delilah take through them. Hard to believe the weather changed so fast for you. Today is rather cool in the south…a mere 79 degrees. Doesn’t sound very cool, but it is “relative” to the 90’s we have been experiencing!
    Hope all is well with you and yours!


    November 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    • Thanks, Lorrie! We are well, and making strides in coping with the quick transition to winter. Plenty to love, including warm fires in the fireplace, snuggly lap blankets, steamy chicken and wild rice soup, smells of fresh baked breads, and rented movies in the dark.
      Nothing like coming in out of the cold to the great indoors!


      November 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      • I love that you embrace it all! You almost made me think I can do it!😉


        November 10, 2019 at 4:52 pm

  2. Do you ever find antlers laying around? They make wonderful dogs chews and are very expensive to buy!


    November 9, 2019 at 10:17 am

    • We do find antlers! Sometimes, still connected to the body. Delilah is funny about loving them at first, and then totally ignoring them after. We have multiple half-chewed antlers scattered around the house.


      November 9, 2019 at 10:45 am

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