Buckthorn Removal Incentive Program

Are you considering removing buckthorn from your property? The Village of Glenview can help! The Buckthorn Removal Incentive Program provides a 50 percent reimbursement - up to $600 - for preapproved buckthorn removal projects.

The program is available to both residential and commercial properties within the Village of Glenview. Buckthorn must be fully eradicated from the property to qualify for reimbursement. Costs associated with the removal, disposal, and stump grinding/treatment are all eligible for reimbursement under the program.

The intent of the program is to reduce one of the most challenging invasive species within the Village. Those removing buckthorn are also eligible and encouraged to apply for the tree planting incentive program, which will increase tree canopy cover and species diversity in the Village. For further information, see the Village of Glenview Urban Forest Management Plan (linked at right).

Apply here!

Questions about the program can be directed to treeincentive@glenview.il.us or by calling (847)904-4536.

The cost-share program is focused on private property. Residents seeking buckthorn removal from the parkway/Village right-of-way should contact the Public Works Department at 847-724-1700 to discuss options. 

Buckthorn Removal Incentive Program FAQ

  • Submit an application here.
  • Applications will be evaluated by staff (including a field visit to review the project), and projects will be awarded on a rolling basis subject to available annual funding.

• Applicants will work with a tree care company or landscaper of their choice to plan and complete the project. All buckthorn occurring within the property borders must be removed (check your plat of survey). All stumps must either be treated with an appropriate brush-controlling herbicide (documentation of herbicide application will be required) or the stumps must be completely removed or ground below the surface of the soil. It is highly recommended to also ensure that appropriate landscaping be added very soon after buckthorn removal (for example, native plants, ornamental plants, turf grass sod or seed, or trees and shrubs). For examples of alternative woody plants that can provide screening, please review the Chicago Region Trees Initiative’s Healthy Hedges brochure. For ideas to replace buckthorn with native vegetation, please see resources at the bottom of the Illinois Extension’s invasive trees and shrubs webpage. Please see resource library on the right for links.

  • Applicants will provide a receipt and contact the Community Development department to request an inspection following removal of buckthorn and buckthorn stumps from the property. Make sure the receipts indicate that all buckthorn has been removed from the property and how the stumps were treated or removed. Reimbursement checks are mailed 4-6 weeks after inspection.

One clue is to look for shrubs with small, egg-shaped leaves that stay green and attached to the plant well into fall when most other deciduous trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves. The leaves are smooth, glossy, finely toothed at the edges, and are pointed at the tip. The twigs and leaves are arranged “sub-opposite,” meaning nearly opposite from each other on the stem. Twigs and stems often have prominent lenticels – pores that look like white or gray horizontal dashes. In fall, the female plants have clusters of small dark berries.

The photo below showing leaves of common buckthorn comes from the Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative, which provides detailed identification information along with other facts about buckthorn.

Buckthorn is legally designated an invasive plant under the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, making it illegal to buy or sell. This is because of its tendency to grow so prolifically that other plant species are suppressed by its shade and by chemicals it introduces into the soil. It spreads quickly between properties and can overwhelm natural areas. This video explains some of the deleterious effects that buckthorn has on other plants and wildlife.

There are a few methods that residents or their landscapers can use to eradicate buckthorn. For an overview of a typical process, see this video of a buckthorn removal project that took place at Glenview’s Village Hall. 

Small plants can be pulled out of the ground when the soil is moist or can be dug out. Be sure to remove the root crown if using this method. Larger plants can be cut close to the ground using loppers, hand saws, or chain saws depending on the size of the plant or the infestation. The stumps must be mechanically ground below the level of the soil surface, or they can be individually treated/painted with an effective herbicide, such as triclopyr, at an appropriate concentration. As an alternative to herbiciding the stumps, a very dark, opaque plastic bag or tin can may be secured around the stump to deprive it of sunlight for a year or two – if done properly the root system should die within this time. Some large infestations of buckthorn can be treated directly with foliar or basal bark applications of herbicide – after the buckthorn dies, the dead trunks/stems will need to be cut down and removed.

Whatever method is chosen, buckthorn removal is often an ongoing process. Re-sprouts and re-seeding of buckthorn back into the property can easily occur, so annually monitoring for buckthorn and then removing it immediately, while it is still small, will help to make the project a long-term success. It is also helpful to quickly plant more desirable vegetation that can compete with buckthorn. You may want to consider the Village of Glenview’s Tree Planting Incentive Program as one part of your re-landscaping effort. Other resources include the Wild Ones education/advocacy organization that focuses on native landscaping, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative’s Healthy Hedges brochure, the University of Illinois Extension website, and numerous native landscaping/gardening books, videos, and websites – look for those specific to Illinois and especially the Chicago region. See the resources library on the right for links to more information.

Reimbursement can be provided for project expenses that are documented with a receipt. If you purchase tools, supplies, or services related to the project (such as tools for cutting down the buckthorn or herbicide for stumps) please provide a receipt for 50% reimbursement of costs related to the project (up to the $600 maximum).

To receive the Buckthorn Removal Incentive Program’s reimbursement of 50% of costs up to $600, the applicant’s property must be entirely buckthorn-free at the time of final inspection. Although you may clear buckthorn gradually in phases, make sure that you apply for the program before your final buckthorn removal project. To receive reimbursement, there must be buckthorn present on the property at the time the application is approved, and all of the buckthorn must be eradicated at the time of final inspection. Documented costs of buckthorn removal between the application date and the final inspection date are eligible for the reimbursement program.

The Buckthorn Removal Incentive program is voluntary. Although removal of buckthorn is strongly recommended, for most properties it is not required. Please consider removing buckthorn and re-planting with preferable trees and shrubs that can also provide screening. Examples of plants that can be useful for screening can be found in the Healthy Hedges 

brochure or by discussing your plan with local nurseries, landscapers, or knowledgeable gardeners. The University of Illinois Extension’s website provides additional resources and links. Please see resources on the right for links.

If you would like to re-plant using large canopy trees, the Village offers a Tree Planting Incentive Program. One tree per property per year is eligible for a 50/50 cost-share reimbursement, up to a maximum of $300.

Turf grass, a garden bed, a rain garden, or a native plant landscape are all possibilities to replace the buckthorn and help to keep it from returning. You may also want to replace the screening that buckthorn had been providing, so consider a wide variety of native or ornamental trees and shrubs.

You may want to consider the Village of Glenview’s Tree Planting Incentive Program as one part of your re-landscaping effort. Other resources include the Wild Ones education/advocacy organization that focuses on native landscaping, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative’s Healthy Hedges brochure, the University of Illinois Extension website, and numerous native landscaping/gardening books, videos, and websites – look for those specific to Illinois and especially the Chicago region. Please see resources on right for links.

Property owners can make their own individual decisions about removing buckthorn. It is strongly recommended that you discuss your plan with your neighbors and encourage them to also participate in the Buckthorn Removal Incentive Program. Each property owner should apply separately and remove the buckthorn on their property up to the property line. The project will be much more effective and successful if neighboring properties are also cleared of buckthorn, as the shrub does tend to spread across property lines if given a chance. If you remove buckthorn but your neighbor does not, you will need to continually monitor and remove buckthorn that may appear on your side of the property line.

Please contact the Village of Glenview Public Works department at 847-724-1700 to discuss the buckthorn on your parkway/Village right of way. In most cases the Village will remove the buckthorn from the parkway at no cost to the property owner. The property owner is responsible for removing any buckthorn on their own side of the right of way. 

Following buckthorn removal on the Village right of way, the Village will restore the area at ground level with typical lawn grass seed. If there is sufficient room for adequate spacing, the Village will plant a parkway tree at no cost to the property owner upon request (see Village parkway tree planting program).

Please consult the plat of survey provided to you when you purchased your home. If renting, please request the plat of survey from the property owner. The Village does not survey private property or make the determination of boundaries between private properties.

Residents are responsible for ongoing maintenance of the project, such as replanting the area and monitoring and removing any buckthorn that resprouts or reseeds into the area. Continued monitoring and removal of any new buckthorn plants while still small will ensure the long-term success of the project.

Important Tree Resources

Looking up into a tree canopy

The Village takes our tree canopy, sustainability and the environment seriously. Here are some good resources to help you make sure you can always see the forest and the trees.