Friday, August 15, 2014

The Burn

Gilbert from Redtail Vineyards lights the fire
A hot fire for a Hot day!
This is where we get to destroy... love using that word in this context... destroy the Buckthorn that I've been cutting down for the past few years.  Common Buckthorn - (Rhamnus cathartica) - was introduced to North America in the 1880's from Europe.  According to Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program, it was used originally as a hedgerow (useful) and as a decorative shrub (doubtful).  It grows quickly in full sun or shade and its stems and branches have very sharp thorns.  I know... my legs and arms can prove it!  So perfect to use as a pasture border, right?  To keep sheep and cows in, and other critters out?  Problem is it sets a prodigious number of seeds every year.  By prodigious, I mean this year there are gazillions  of inch high seedlings everywhere on the property the lawnmower doesn't get.  Its roots quickly reach down and take firm hold of the soil making it difficult to pull out.  It chokes out other plants and, to top it off, even birds don't seem to have much use for the berries.

So I cut it down, treat the stump with a weed killer and last Monday burned the suckers into a tiny pile of ash.  The top photo is Smokey and our friend Mags and her dog Skeeter enjoying it as much as I!

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