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HOMEOWNER SURVEY RESULTS YOUR VIEWS ON YOUR YARD BUCKTHORN By developing a network of critical landscapes, everyone can work together to safeguard the resources and places that benefit people, wildlife, and the economy. The results of this homeowner survey represent a step toward this vision. Buckthorn is the most common tree in Lake County, making up more than 40 percent of our canopy, according to a 2010 tree census conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and The Morton Arboretum. It will continue to be an issue until the whole community is involved: from private landowners to homeowner associations, golf courses to garden clubs, businesses to school districts. But momentum is building and will continue to build. See page 12 for testimonials from homeowners already joining the movement. Together, public and private partners will work toward a buckthorn-free Lake County, serving as catalysts for the entire Chicago region. When it comes to buckthorn removal, the difference across property lines is often stark. To effectively control buckthorn around Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve, removal efforts must go beyond our boundaries.

How do you turn your yard into an oasis for native plants and wildlife? In the coming months, we’ll share resources on how to get started with native landscaping at home, from species selection to yard and garden maintenance. Photo Š Tamima Itani.

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This packet contains complete, anonymous results from the homeowner survey distributed in 2017 to gauge awareness and perceptions of buckthorn and native landscapes. We have organized the questions by theme, such as demographics and yard activities; not all questions appear in numerical order. Full questions are included for clarity. Please contact Allison Frederick with the Lake County Forest Preserve District at 847-968-3261 or afrederick@LCFPD.org with questions.

Demographics Q1. How many years have you lived in Lake County? 1–10

characteristics of people and property

Q2. How many years have you lived at your current residence?

20.8% 40.6%

42.7%

26%

11-20 18.8%

21–30

34.4%

>30

11.5% Q25. What is your gender? Female 46.1%

Male 43.8%

Prefer not to answer/ non-binary

10.1%

Q26. Lot size (acres)

<0.5

38.1%

5.2% 1–10

11-20

>30

Q23. Are you retired?

0.51–1

>1

26.8%

Yes 41.3%

35.1%

A calm morning scene at Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve (Lake Forest). Photo © Jeff Goldberg.

2

21–30

No 58.7%


Counting buckthorn

its presence and prevalence in local yards

Q5. Do you currently have buckthorn on your property? I don’t know 6%

You can battle buckthorn!

No, we’ve never had it 11%

Buckthorn often grows in dense hedges or thickets. Some homeowners keep it to increase privacy or reduce road noise. Native shrubs, sedges, and wildflowers can successfully replicate those effects while adding to the health of Lake County.

No, we had it in the past but completely removed it 15%

Yes 68% Q6. If you currently have buckthorn, to what extent is it present on your property? Small seedlings that sprout in the garden or yard

15.9%

One or more isolated shrubs or trees

23.8%

A hedge or foundation planting less than 50 feet in length

17.5% 42.9%

An extensive thicket or hedge more than 50 feet in length

Standing under a majestic oak canopy in a restored woodland can be awe-inspiring. Photo © Caleb Phelps.

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methods homeowners have tried in the past, plus intentions to remove and potential outcomes of removal

Q7. What, if anything, have you done in the past to remove buckthorn from your property? Nothing (12.7%)

Removing

Q8. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Disagree

Neutral

Agree

I am willing to remove buckthorn from my yard

Occasionally pulled small sprouted plants from yard (23.8%) Regularly pulled small sprouted plants from yard (55.6%)

15.6%

70.3%

I intend to remove buckthorn from my yard 23%

Mechanically removed large individual shrubs or trees (58.1%)

14.1%

9.8%

67.2%

I am likely to remove buckthorn from my yard 23.7%

10.2%

66.1%

Mechanically removed a hedge or thicket (32.3%)

You can battle buckthorn! Buckthorn is best controlled by cutting the stem a few inches above the soil, then applying herbicide to the cut stump. Winter is the ideal time to remove dense stands of buckthorn.

Treated with herbicide to prevent growth (29%) Other (4.5%) Q10. How much do any of the following possible outcomes discourage you from removing buckthorn from your yard? Quite a bit

Some

Unsure

Q9. How much do any of the following possible outcomes encourage you to remove buckthorn from your yard?

Not at all I will be able to see my neighbors

Unsure

Some

I can plant native plants to provide nesting and food sources for birds or other wildlife

I will be able to see a road

Removal will reduce the number of buckthorn seedlings that sprout in my yard and garden

Noises from nearby roads will be louder

I can replace buckthorn with shrubs that provide greater visual diversity to my yard (e.g., spring wildflowers or fall color)

I will have no vegetation in my yard/it will look barren

Quite a bit

Removal will assist with broader conservation goals in my neighborhood and Lake County

With buckthorn and other invasive species removed, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s much easier to see the sunrise between the trees. Photo Š Jeff Goldberg.

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buckthorn

perceived ability to remove buckthorn, plus preferred removal option

Q11. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? I am confident I can successfully remove buckthorn from my yard. I have the ability to identify buckthorn.

35.3%

45.6%

11.9% 67.6%

20.6%

I know how to remove buckthorn.

38.8%

I have the time to remove buckthorn. I have the physical ability to remove buckthorn. I have the financial resources to remove buckthorn. My lawn/landscaping service can help me remove buckthorn.

19.1%

17.9%

56.1% 44.8% 34.8% 29.9%

Disagree

43.3% 16.7%

19.4% 25.8% 25.4%

27.3% 35.8% 39.4%

44.8%

Neutral

Agree

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) is just one species of native shrub you can plant to replace buckthorn.

Q12. Considering you and your neighbors, with which of the following buckthorn removal options would you be most comfortable?

Option 1: 25.4% overall Buckthorn and ornamental/native shrubs growing together (i.e., homeowner is sequencing buckthorn removals in areas over time).

Option 2: 31.3% overall Buckthorn is removed all at once and replaced with large native or ornamental trees/shrubs.

Option 3: 9.0% overall

Option 4: 34.3% overall

Buckthorn is removed all at once and initially replaced with mulch beds.

Buckthorn is removed all at once and replaced with a mix of native forbs, grasses, and shrubs.


Self-perceptions

how homeowners valued their yard, saw themselves, and estimated approval of buckthorn removal

Q4. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? 1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree 1.5

1

2

2.5

3.5

3

4

4.5

5

I take pride in my yard

My yard is special to me

My yard reflects who I am

Q15. How much would you describe yourself as: A conservationist

7.5%

23.6%

42%

26.9%

An environmentalist

5%

24.4%

42.6%

27.7%

A birder A gardener A wildlife viewer

23.9%

32.6%

15.2%

9.8% 7.5%

25%

37%

38%

30.1%

23.7%

Not at all

18.5%

38.7%

A little

Some

Quite a bit

Q13. How much do you think the following people or groups would approve if you remove the buckthorn on your property? Friends Family

14.7% 17.6%

Neighbors

12.5%

Local government organizations

11.8%

Conservation organizations * = 1.5%

16.2%

*

45.6% 54.4%

* 8.8% 7.8%

17.6%

42.2%

17.2%

20.3%

61.8%

7.4%

19.1%

70.1%

6% * 7.5%

Not at all

22.1%

A little

Some

15%

Quite a bit

A breathtaking sunset at Gander Mountain Forest Preserve (Antioch). Photo Š Jeff Goldberg.

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Unsure

Photo Š Phil Hauck


Yard activities

leisure and maintenance in local yards

Q3. What types of activities do you enjoy in your yard? Check all that apply. Cooking/BBQ grilling

85.9%

Gardening

79.8%

Reading/relaxing

78.8%

Viewing wildlife

77.8%

Entertaining/parties

70.7%

Playing with children

53.5%

Playing yard games with adults

35.4%

Swimming/sunbathing

22.2%

Q16. Which of the following activities does your family and/or a landscaping service do in your yard? Check all that apply. Mow the lawn weekly (90.6%)

Plant non-native ornamental plants (54.2%)

Weed by hand (87.5%)

Weed using chemicals (53.1%)

Water the garden (85.4%)

Plant to attract pollinators (e.g., bees, birds, butterflies) (52.2%)

Fertilize the lawn (82.3%) Water the lawn (74%) Fertilize the garden (68.8%) Plant native plants (64.6%)

Oaks, such as this white oak (Quercus alba), are keystone species, benefitting plants and wildlife around them. Young oak seedlings need more sunlight and space to grow than other trees. Both are in short supply in buckthorn-dominated woodlands.

Compost yard waste (17.7%) Compost food waste (15.6%) Mow the lawn as needed (15.6%) Use natural predators (e.g., ladybugs) (11.6%)

You can battle buckthorn! Spread by their fruit, buckthorn seeds remain viable in the soil for two to six years. Planting a mix of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers can help control resprouting.

Buckthorn deprives native ephemeral wildflowers, such as large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), of sunlight.

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Yard maintenance

amount of time spent on maintenance, enjoyment of yard care and gardening, and usage of landscaping services

Q14. Thinking about yard and garden care combined, how much time is spent per week on yard and/or garden maintenance at your house? 1 hour or less (5.3%) Photo © Emma England

More than 10 hours (8.4%)

You can battle buckthorn!

1 to 5 hours (53.7%)

Have you already removed buckthorn from your yard? Volunteer at a local restoration workday. Learn more at LCFPD.org/workdays.

5 to 10 hours (32.6%)

Combined below, Q19 (In my household, yard care typically is...) and Q20 (In my household, gardening typically is...) measured how much homeowners enjoyed yard care and gardening.

Very unenjoyable

1

2

Very enjoyable

3

4

Yard care

5

We compared Q19–20 with results from the U.S. Forest Service’s Chicago Natural Areas Survey in 2015, which examined homeowners’ attitudes toward their front and backyards in 25 Chicago-area neighborhoods. Fewer respondents from this current survey used a landscaping service for yard care and gardening.

Gardening

We did not measure enjoyment for households that employed a landscaping service for these tasks. 35.2% of respondents employed a landscaping service for yard care. 13.5% employed a landscaping service for gardening.

Lake County

Chicago

Yard care service

35.2%

53.3%

Gardening service

13.5%

29.8%

Environmental Educator Mark Hurley likes to “bury” a group of student volunteers in a buckthorn thicket before restoration. Then, he

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Yard values Q17. How important are the following to you?

how homeowners view neatness, tidiness, weeds, native and non-native plants, their yards, their neighbors’ yards, and social expectations not at all

1

a lot

2

3

4

5

Having a neat and tidy yard Having pretty plants in my yard Having plants in my yard that attract butterflies and other beneficial insects (e.g., bees) Having a lush, green, weed-free yard Residents choosing plants for their garden that are native to the local area Having privacy from my neighbors

Q18. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

strongly disagree

1

strongly agree

2

3

4

5

My yard is a critical part of what makes my property “home.” I feel there are expectations among my neighbors that everyone should have a green, weed-free front yard. Having a green, weed-free front yard is a sign of responsible home ownership. Residents should remove established plants from their garden if the plants are not native to the area. The problem with native plants in my yard is they often look scraggly and untidy. People should be able to plant whatever they want in their yards, even if their non-native plants escape into natural areas. What other people do with their front yards does not matter to me. What other people do with their backyards does not matter to me. takes another photo once the group has made visible progress. It’s satisfying to see the result of hours of hard work and cooperation.

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Confidence and cooperation

all about local organizations caring for natural lands and removing buckthorn

We compared Q21 (How confident are you in the ability of the following organizations to care for local natural lands?) and Q22 (Would you be willing to cooperate with these organizations to remove buckthorn on your property?) below. A value of 3.0 represents high confidence and willingness to cooperate. A value of 1.0 represents low confidence and willingness to cooperate. confidence 1

1.5

cooperation 2

2.5

Chicago Region Trees Initiative

City of Lake Forest

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Lake County Forest Preserve District

Lake Forest Open Lands Association

Local garden club

Mettawa Open Lands Association

Morton Arboretum

Birds eat the berry-like fruits of buckthorn, but receive no nutritional benefit from them. Below: scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea).

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Significant notes

how intentions to remove buckthorn correlate with potential outcomes, yard values, and cooperation

Responses to some questions correlated with responses to others in a statistically significant way. This means the likelihood of these relationships appearing by random chance is less than 5 percent. Below, we examine how responses from Q8—which measured homeowners’ intentions to remove buckthorn from their yards—correlate with responses from Q9, Q17, and Q22.

I am willing to remove buckthorn from my yard I intend to remove buckthorn from my yard

Q8 (p.4) Homeowners who expressed strong intentions to remove buckthorn from their yard... I am likely to remove buckthorn from my yard

Q17 (p.9) ...and to agree more with natural yard values... Having plants in my yard that attract pollinators Residents choosing plants for their garden that are native to the local area

Q9 (p.4) ...were more likely to be encouraged by possible positive outcomes... • replacing buckthorn with diverse shrubs • planting native plants for birds and wildlife • reducing buckthorn seedlings • assisting broader conservation goals

In conclusion...

Q22 (p.10) ...and to be more willing to cooperate with local organizations caring for natural lands.

The combined effects of these relationships provide a fairly strong means for predicting buckthorn removal and helping land managers understand different residents’ preferences for their yards.

Loppers and bow saws are crucial tools for buckthorn removal. Always follow safety instructions and information on labels.

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This can’t just be a moment.

It must be a movement. This homeowner survey is one step in a pilot project to eradicate buckthorn from a 2,900-acre area surrounding Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve (Lake Forest).

Photo © Tim Elliott

Landowners working together toward buckthorn removal will make all the difference.

Forest preserves and yards can both contribute to the beauty and health of Lake County. Partners of this effort are creating resources to help assess your yard, remove buckthorn, plant natives, and get involved. Learn more at LCFPD.org/landscaping.

Many have already joined. At the end of the survey, Q26 invited homeowners to describe their yard and share anything else they wanted us to know about how buckthorn affects them. Here’s a small sample of what we received.

We have cleared out much of the buckthorn and try to stay on top of it.

I’d LOVE to get rid of my buckthorn. Happy to participate in activities to do so. We have been removing thick buckthorn over time—a little more each year—leaving the forest more natural. We take great pride in our home, enjoy and maintain our front yard and backyard at great personal expense...any assistance with buckthorn is greatly appreciated.

This is a collaborative effort supported by:

To learn more about buckthorn removal, native landscaping, and this pilot project, please visit LCFPD.org/landscaping and LCFPD.org/research. 12

This eco-friendly packet was printed with soy-based inks on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper (100 PCW) that is processed chlorine-free (PCF) and certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). BP 6/18.

Thank you for supporting this effort.

Profile for Lake County Forest Preserve District

Buckthorn Homeowner Survey Results  

By developing a network of critical landscapes, everyone can work together to safeguard the resources and places that benefit people, wildli...

Buckthorn Homeowner Survey Results  

By developing a network of critical landscapes, everyone can work together to safeguard the resources and places that benefit people, wildli...

Profile for lcfpd