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Extension > Garden > Master Gardener > Over the Backyard Fence | News from the Master Gardener director > On the lookout: Buckthorn Phytoplasma Disease

On the lookout: Buckthorn Phytoplasma Disease

As you are out and about this summer, keep a lookout for common/European buckthorn trees withBuckthorn phytoplasma flyer.jpg witches' broom/yellows disease symptoms.

Laura Van Riper, Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator of the Division of Ecological and Water Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports: "Research to identify biocontrol insects for buckthorn has been on-going since 2001. A phytoplasma disease was detected in potential biocontrol insects and Rhamnus species in Europe. It has not been reported in the US. We need to know if this phytoplasma is already present in North America."

We need your help! Click Buckthorn phytoplasma flyer.pdf for details and photos.

If you think you have found evidence of this condition, please contact Dr. Roger Becker, University of Minnesota (


Wow, I am a gardener and go on regular walks and hikes in the outdoors on trails. I will do my part to help you by looking out for this nasty stuff. I often take my autistic nephew with me and we both can look, since two sets of eyes are better than one.


I belong to a garden club and I'll pass the word on to everyone to keep an eye out for Buckthorn Phytoplasma. How are you getting the word out to the public about this? I hope your research finds there this hasn't made it to the US.

Julie Weisenhorn said:

Master Gardeners are educated in horticulture and often involved with removing buckthorn and with education about this invasive plant. However, communication about this issue and effort is being communicated by the MN DNR and University faculty.

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