Visitors have been noticing, and asking about these strange black bags on the ground all over Thacher State Park. What gives? They kinda look like big poop bags from dogs, but they aren't.

They are a simple and effective way to kill off an invasive species of plant that chokes out other native plants in New York.

They are called Buckhorn Bags

Buckhorn bags are put over the stem of a Buckhorn Shrub and it deprives it of light so the shrub dies. They look like trash that was left on the trail now, but they will prevent this nuisance plant from growing where it's not wanted.

What is the Common Buckhorn?

If you've been walking in the woods in Upstate New York you've probably seen the Common Buckhorn Bush. They grow wild all over that they choke out other species of native plants. According to the New York Invasive Species Website, this is the description of Buckhorn.

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a small deciduous tree or large shrub that can grow to six meters in height. It has dull green oval or egg shaped leaves and is easily identified by the small thorns at the tip of its branches. It is also known as European buckthorn, European waythorn, and Hart’s thorn. Common buckthorn is considered an invasive species throughout most of the northeastern and central United States and southeastern Canada because of the dense thickets it forms.

 

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So, if you're out hiking in Thacher State Park, or any park for that matter, and you see these little black bags on the ground. Don't touch them. They are killing off an invasive species and will help make the trails that much nicer in the future.

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