As May approaches the focus is on Mother’s Day. Most businesses are advertising gifts for you to buy your mother. Although I am a mother, my mom has been gone for 20 years so I’m putting my focus on Mother Earth.
A week or so ago, April 22, was Earth Day. Although I work at protecting the environment every day with better business practices and by producing environmentally safe soap, I wanted to do something more for the earth. After all without it where would we be? Without the tremendous abundance it gives us in food, beauty, and joy we wouldn’t have much of an existence. So I joined my local environmental committee in a clean-up project.
That is how I learned about Buckthorn. It is one of the most troublesome invasive species that grows just about everywhere.
It’s a shrub native to Europe and has no natural controls here. It is the first to green in the spring and one of the last to lose its leaves in the fall allowing it to out-compete native plants for nutrients, light and water.
It also produces a chemical that is toxic to other plants so nothing can grow under or around it. It produces berries with many seeds that the birds love which is how it spreads so fast. It degrades wildlife habitat and threatens our forests, wetlands and prairies.
I’m told most people have it in their yards and it is important that we destroy it before it destroys our native plants and habitats. So I was put on “buckthorn killer” duty and had lots of fun doing it.
It is terribly hard to get rid of. Even cutting it down isn’t enough. The stumps have to be treated with an herbicide otherwise it will just sprout new branches. In our forest preserves they also do controlled burns to try to get rid of it.
Working at removing it all day I got to be kind of good at identifying it, although I’m still not an expert. I have found some in my yard though and am working on getting rid of it.
I also did some trash removal from Salt Creek that runs through my town.
All in all it was a very productive day. I felt good (and very tired) after tending to Mother Earth. So this Mother’s Day as you buy gifts and honor your mothers please give a thought to the first mother of all life, the earth.
Please think about the products you buy, the packaging you throw out, what you wash down the drain, etc. Please recycle, compost, reduce and reuse. Be careful of the plants you choose to put in your yard and look for buckthorn and destroy it. Know that caring for Mother Earth can only benefit you in the long run.
To help you help the earth I am offering you 25% off at Scenter of the Mind. Just put the word “green” in the voucher section of the online shopping cart. It’s that simple.