Forest Herbicide Application

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We are licensed in Pennsylvania and New York to apply herbicides necessary to adjust plant growth in forestry.

If you have native or non- native invasive plants crowding out the growing space and preventing quality timber and wildlife plants from getting established.   It is usually necessary for regeneration of timber to apply herbicide to heavy fern growth.  Ferns will not allow any other plants to get established.  If you harvest timber, letting light into the forest floor, and there is already a fern understory, these ferns will thrive and become so thick, that no light, moisture and space is available for desirable trees and shrubs.

There are several types of herbicide application used in forestry.  One is broadcast spaying with a mist blower.  This is generally used for low invasive understory such as ferns and brush where there is little to no desirable species growing.  It can be done with backpack mist blowers or on a larger scale with skidder-mounted machinery.  The cost is $125 to $300 per acre depending on terrain, species targeted and the size of the job.

The other types of applications are more specific.  To get rid of trees that are taking up growing space that will not benefit your land in terms of wildlife habitat or timber value, we use basal bark treatments, hack and squirt or cut/stump treatments.  As the names imply, we can put herbicide on the bark of specific trees.  This method is good for smaller sized trees from 1 to 6 inches in diameter.  We can make a cut into the cambium of trees and squirt a small amount of herbicide into the tree to kill it.  Or, we can cut the tree down and apply herbicide to the stump to prevent it from re-sprouting.  This method is the most expensive but it gives you instant gratification since you don’t have to wait until the trees die to benefit from the additional sunlight.  Also, the dense slash created helps prevent deer browsing on the new seedlings that will come up and it provides good bedding cover for deer. The photo below is an example of a winter cut/stump treat job.  Another benefit is this method uses the least amount of chemicals and is very specific.  There is no chance of accidentally killing non-target trees.

Cutting on Pine Grove Mt.


Basal Spray action Basal Sprayed Beech copy


These pictures show basal treatment with an Ultra Low Volume wand.  Here I am spraying a striped maple on the left and on the right, a properly treated beech tree.  I use Garlon 4 Ultra at 15% with basal oil.  Diesel fuel can be used to cut the chemical but is not as environmentally friendly.


The time to do your herbicide work is before you conduct your timber harvest.  If you wait until after you let light into the stand and your invasives explode out of control because you didn’t treat them ahead of time, the job will be very expensive and probably won’t get done.  Take care of your invasives prior to letting in extra light, then do your harvest.  Follow-ups will be needed but will be very easy to do since you have things under control.   Call anytime to ask questions about herbicide work or timber and wildlife management.



About the Author:

Wildlife habitat manager and consulting forester from Central PA. Studied environmental Agriculture specializing in wildlife management and Forestry. B.S. Agriculture, Masters degree in Forestry. 30 years experience in land investment, forestry and wildlife habitat improvement. Currently working as a Farm Bill Forester for Pheasants Forever on Game Commission and Golden Winged Warbler Initiative.