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McHenry County group renting out weed wrenches to fight buckthorn

Environmental Defenders of McHenry County focusing on invasive plants

Published: Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 4:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 12:19 a.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – In an effort to help residents get rid of invasive plants such as buckthorn, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is renting out weed wrenches.

The manually operated, all-steel tool is designed to remove any woody plant with trunk diameters up to 2 inches through uprooting.

Two sizes of the weed wrench are available to rent on a per-week basis. Group members pay a donation plus a $50 refundable deposit while nonmembers pay $25 a week plus a $150 refundable deposit.

Buckthorn was introduced from Europe as an ornamental plant, and now forms dense stands that dominate ecosystems and displace native species. Common buckthorn is a shrub or small tree that can grow to 22 feet in height and have a trunk up to 10 inches wide. Leaves are broadly oval, rounded or pointed at the tip, with three to four pairs of upcurved veins and have jagged, toothed margins.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is an organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment. The group provides the community with educational programs and volunteer action on pollution prevention, sustainable land use and energy and natural resource conservation.

For information, visit the group’s website at or call 815-338-0393.

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