Tom's Blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

From brambles to buckthorn

Our great spring burns were very successful in top-killing brambles, and for the past several weeks we have been spraying all the resprouts. Many of the bramble patches have actually been sprayed twice, because not all the resprouts appear at the same time. Although the second pass is often quicker, in some cases it has taken even longer than the first. This depends upon how quickly the resprouts develop in a particular area. This is the ideal time to spray, as the new shoots arising from the bases of the canes, or from underground rhizomes, are small and require very little herbicide.

This is the third year we have been spraying bramble resprouts, and unfortunately the extent of the work has not tapered off. Dealing with brambles in this way is expensive and time consuming, but we have hopes that we are getting on top of the problem.

Even after two passes, there will still be some missed brambles. These we plan to deal with around mid-summer, when they will have grown into large leafy canes that should be easy to see. For these, we'll use triclopyr as a basal bark treatment. I think this is the best approach, since within a week after basal bark application their leaves should show visible damage.

Unfortunately, our control of shrubs and brush is not finished, because now we are turning to buckthorn. This shrub was also top-killed by the spring burns, but develops more slowly. Right now, the small resprouts are relatively easy to spray without causing any peripheral damage. The photo below is an example. Since we are using triclopyr, which only affects broadleaved plants, the occasional grass or other monocot nearby should not be affected. Fortunately, most of the areas we have been spraying are still free of herbicide-sensitive plants.


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