Today we learned about herbicide spraying to target specific vegetation in younger tree stands.
The trees in these units are no more than about 2 years old so they need some extra help when it comes to resource competition. This is not needed in older trees as they are large enough to fight the other vegetation themselves.
The herbicides we used have very low toxicity, which allows for little to no risk to ourselves and the environment. To be on the safe side we spray at least 10 feet away from all riparian areas to reduce the risk of run off.
We mainly targeted vine maple, which grows very quickly and easily steals nutrients and water from the younger trees making it harder for them to survive.
Spraying can be effective in different seasons depending on the vegetation and herbicide type and what the desired outcome is. For the spraying we did last week we used specific chemicals that will help to cut back on the vegetation already there. Another example is using other chemicals in the spring to target other vegetation such as grasses and. The other spray has a different composition that allows it to sit in the soil and not be washed away by the precipitation.
Starker also uses broadcast spraying from helicopters, which allows for larger amount of land to be covered while smaller teams on the ground help to focus the spraying on unwanted vegetation in units that already have trees growing in them.
In this picture to the left, you can see shields we used made of orange buckets with handles, these are put over young trees that are near unwanted vegetation to prevent any spray from landing on the trees.