Friday, January 21, 2011

My Introduction to Prickley Ash

A bane of the woodlot owner is Prickly Ash [Zanthoxylum americanum]. It is a very thorny bush and though I had heard of it I had never identified it in the wild until last summer when I made a visit to a friend's woodlot near Kingston ON. It is an awful thorny bush and likely worse than a wild rose. It is undoubtedly impossible to walk through without chaps or other leg protection. 

I was of the false opinion that this was probably not an issue in our area until, on a recent trip this summer in the Perth area I had noticed an unusual bush that stood about 2 metres high and had interesting clusters of berries near the stem. I took a sample of it home for positive identification. Sure enough using Trees in Canada ISBN 1-55041-199-3, it was definitely identified as Prickly ash. I have since found it along a road not more than 6 km away from here, and more recently found a patch of it in our very own woodlot. 

Unlike buckthorn and other invasive plants, Prickly Ash is apparently not that hard to control by just cutting it back. Buckthorn on the other hand just keeps sprouting up even after three or four years of cutting back.

No comments: