Why are you removing buckthorn?
Buckthorn is not native to the United states. Its leaves, branches and sharp spines create dense thickets that spread rapidly as birds disperse their fruit. Buckthorn has been classified as an “invasive plant” by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (among others). Without natural enemies (such as insects and diseases) to inhibit growth, invasive species spread aggressively outside their natural range and out-compete native plants for nutrients and sunlight. The rapid growth of invasives creates monocultures that prevent biodiversity, damaging the land and water needed for plants and wildlife to survive.
OK, so you’re removing invasive plants. What are you putting in their place?
The Friends are dedicated to replacing invasives with native trees, wildflowers, grasses, sedges and shrubs.
Why are natives better than invasives?
- Native plants provide homes and resources, such as food, for native species, such as butterflies and birds. These native species are frequently dependent on native plants. As these native plants disappear from our fields, woods and gardens, so do our beloved native species that depend on them. An example of this is the relationship between the monarch butterfly and milkweed.
- Native plants protect our soil and water. Native prairie plants grow deep roots that protect against soil erosion and soak up water to prevent run-off.
Why are you cutting down other trees?
Sometimes dead or diseased trees need to be removed from areas we work on. For example, ash trees infected with emerald ash borer should be removed lest they become a basis for the further spread of the insect. Usually these trees are cut down by the Village of Glencoe or by landscaping contractors hired by the Village. It’s a big job! We’re volunteers and not really equipped to cut down lots of trees. The Friends try to work with the Village so that we can replace the trees that get cut down with native plants.