Neighbors of The Woods at The Wilds Park will notice things looking a little different at the Prior Lake City park. If they failed to notice the towering piles of cut buckthorn stacked at the park, they might realize that you can now see into the kaleidoscope-colored woods and through to the wetland beyond.
On Sunday, a small legion of volunteers descended onto the park to remove buckthorn and rake leaves at this fall’s Clean Water Clean-Up. The small park was a hive of activity with nearly 40 volunteers hard at work. The volunteers removed nearly all of the buckthorn at the park which City staff shredded into 44 cubic yards of wood chips weighing an estimated 12 tons; and raked up half a dump truck load of leaves! These fabulous results were accomplished over the span of just a few hours. The event was co-hosted by the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District and the City of Prior Lake and several area businesses generously donated door prizes.
Removing the buckthorn from the park opened up the understory of the park’s woods and will allow the native shrubs and understory plants to flourish and give trees seedlings a chance to grow without buckthorn there to choke them out.
Buckthorn is an invasive shrub originally from Europe; it frequently takes over the understory of forested areas in Minnesota, crowding out native plants and often eliminating plant diversity in the forest understory. Buckthorn is easy to spot this time of year as it is one of the few things that is still dark green; if you see dark green shrubs in the understory layer now, chances are good that it’s buckthorn.
Have buckthorn in your backyard? Now is a great time to remove it! The City of Prior Lake has buckthorn pullers available for residents to borrow at no cost. Call Barb at 952-447-9896 for more information. You can find out how to identify buckthorn and manage it on our website here.
Missed out on the fun? The District and the City will be hosting another clean-up this spring. Stay tuned by checking the Watershed District or City websites or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email notification list.