‘Buckthorn Betty’ Leads Buckthorn Busts in Plymouth
Every October, Mother Nature transforms Minnesota into a picturesque landscape of orange and yellow.
But for a group of volunteers in Plymouth, this is the time of year where they’re more concerned with leaves of the dark green variety.
“This is buckthorn, and it’s always dark green,” said Betty Lamb of Plymouth.
For the past 11 years, Lamb has led a mission to eradicate buckthorn from Maple Creek Park.
“It’s a very nice shrub if you keep it trimmed,” Lamb said. “If you let it go, it turns into this gnarly, ugly tree with thorns on it.”
It also spreads easily and chokes out all of the native plants. About 15 years ago, buckthorn ran rampant in Maple Creek Park.
“The whole park was just complete buckthorn,” she said. “You couldn’t walk through it, you couldn’t even see through it. So I just decided that something had to be done.”
With a little help from the City of Plymouth, Lamb organized a volunteer effort known as ‘Buckthorn Busts.’ She earned the nickname, ‘Buckthorn Betty,’ in the process.
“Actually now, I look at it with fondness. I’m proud of being ‘Buckthorn Betty,’” Lamb said.
On the morning of Oct. 20, about two dozen people joined ‘Buckthorn Betty’ to help clear the park of the invasive shrub.
“Thank the good Lord for Betty,” said Fred Hegele. “She’s been organizing this for years, and it’s a great thing. She’s saving these woods.”
It’s a tedious task that generally requires tools to uproot the plant.
“The roots are very shallow, usually,” Lamb said. “So it’s relatively easy to pull up.”
Yet considering the sheer number of buckthorn, it can be a taxing job.
After being uprooted, the buckthorn are placed in piles for the city to pick up later, allowing visitors to enjoy the park as it was intended.
“It’s just fantastic,” Lamb said. “It’s so rewarding to be able to look around and see what you’ve accomplished.”
Plymouth has several more buckthorn busts planned in the next couple weeks. For more information, you can go to City of Plymouth website.