Invasive Species

The spread of invasive species is a major factor contributing to ecosystem change and instability throughout Chicagoland. Invasive species displace or wipe out native species, damage infrastructure, and threaten human livelihoods.

In Lake County, the invasive species common, or European, buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is of particular concern. Buckthorn accounts for 52.2% of the county’s trees. We aim to eliminate buckthorn from all forest preserves and reduce it by 50% countywide by reaching out to private landowners, working with Lake County schools, and teaming up with partners.

The Buckthorn Stops Here

Join The Movement

TEDx VernonAreaLibrary

Public Affairs Manager Allison Frederick describes how to join forces and stop buckthorn in our own yards. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Learn More in our Horizons Magazine

Identify Buckthorn

Fall is a good time to identify buckthorn and plan for removal efforts over the winter. Manager of Restoration Ecology Matt Ueltzen shares tips on buckthorn identification, buckthorn berries, and a simple strategy to get started with buckthorn removal.

Herbicide Tips and Tricks

Learn important tips and procedures to properly obtain and apply herbicide during efforts to remove buckthorn and other invasive species.

Buckthorn Herbicide Guide

A New Fall Fashion

Environmental Communications Specialist Brett Peto shares how you can help make buckthorn eradication a new fall fashion in our Lake County Nature blog archive.

Learn More on our Blog

Remove Buckthorn

Public Affairs Manager Allison Frederick introduces the major steps of buckthorn removal on a residential property.

Native Landscaping Resources

Ready to get started with native landscaping and invasive species removal and replacement? Visit our digital resources hub and join the Healthy Hedges movement.

Native Plant Resources

Before and After Buckthorn Removal´╗┐

Use the arrows below to view three areas in the preserves before and after buckthorn removal. The difference is significant!


Buckthorn Eradication Pilot Project

In 2015, we began a pilot project to eradicate buckthorn in a 2,900-acre landscape surrounding Middlefork Savanna in Lake Forest. Bounded by I-94 and Routes 176, 43 and 60, this area contains the 687-acre preserve and about 700 public and private properties. We are working to include these landowners in a large-scale push to eradicate buckthorn locally, called the Buckthorn Eradication Pilot Project.

A 50/50 cost-share program, supported by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, is available to assist landowners in the project area with removing buckthorn and replacing it with beneficial native plants. Please fill out the contact form to inquire about grant funds for your property.

Learn More in our Horizons Magazine

Contact Us

Need help with invasive species removal and replacement or another landscaping issue? Please fill out the contact form below. If you are unable to fill out the form or prefer to inquire another way, please call 847-367-6640 or email



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