It may not be just your imagination that our pesky brush species seem to be growing faster and faster.
It may not be just your imagination that our pesky brush species seem to be growing faster and faster. Unwanted brush on your property may actually be getting away from you faster these days since it is a proven fact that woody species accelerate their growth as the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere increases. Fortunately, there are several chemicals that can do a good job of controlling brushy species in pastures and other areas of the farm.
Generally speaking, the last half of May or very early June is the best time to initiate control on most brushy species. However, this does vary based upon the species being controlled and the chemical being used. Therefore, it is always wise to take a close look at the label so you know you are using the product in the correct manner.
There are several ways to apply herbicides to control brush. Those include the cut stump treatment, basal bark treatment, foliar application and soil application.
Cut stump simply means treating the cambium layer after the tree has been cut down. Basal bark means an application to the lower trunk of standing brush. A soil treatment means spotting the herbicide onto the ground where it will be taken up by the plant. A foliar application means spraying the foliage after the brush has leafed out.
Products for basal bark and cut stump treatments includes Crossbow, Remedy, PastureGuard, Tordon RTU and Pathfinder II which is a ready-to-use form of Remedy. Some of these will control all species. The exceptions are Crossbow and PastureGard which are weak on some species when applied in this manner. When doing a cut stump treatment, treat the cambium layer on the outside edge of the stump because this is the area where the spray is taken up by the plant. When doing a basal bark treatment, the trunk should be treated to runoff clear around the trunk up to a height of about twenty-four inches.
The soil applied method of control of brushy species simply means spotting the product on the ground next to the trunk of the trees to be controlled. The product of choice for soil applications is Velpar or Pronone Power Pellets which has the same active ingredient as Velpar. Veplar or Pronone will control most species when the product is applied according to the label directions.
Eastern redcedar must be treated with Tordon 22K but is not recommended for control of redcedar any taller than fifteen feet. The best control for these is to simply cut them off at ground level. Eastern Redcedar will not sprout back if cut below the lowest foliage.
Foliar application refers to spraying the herbicide mixture on the foliage during the spring. The brush should be sprayed until the spray material begins to drip from the leaves. There are quite a number of materials labeled for controlling brush with a foliar application. Those include Crossbow, Remedy, Tordon 22K, PastureGard, Surmount and a few others as well. There is no one material that is going to control all species of brush as a foliar application. Species needing special attention includes persimmon, honey locust and eastern redcedar.
Because there are so many materials, so many species and so many application methods, it is nearly impossible to write specific recommendations for all situations, so if you have a brush problem and are wondering just exactly how to attack it, give me a call at the Extension office at 724-8233. We also have a publication that gives instructions on brush control. This publication is available without charge.