Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spraying Invasive Sprouts in the Fence Row

Invasive sprouts have begun to grow in my fence row clearing area.  In a typical year, you have months through the winter when you can cut and mark invasive shrubs, but you only have a few weeks during the spring when you can successfully apply herbicide to the resulting sprouts.  The warm weather has accelerated the growth of most exotic plants and considerably shortened the possible spray window.  Instead of coming on in succession, almost all of the species have developed together and many native species have joined the rush.  Weeks may seem like plenty of time to get the spray job completed, but you can’t spray when it’s raining or when it’s windy or when the plant is covered in dew.  Finding a time when none of those three conditions is present can sometimes be tough.

Cutting a shrub causes the plant to respond with multiple sprouts.  This Autumn Olive is at the perfect stage for spraying.  There is a large mass of leaves concentrated in a small area.  The Autumn Olive leaves are easily covered with herbicide with minimal risk to surrounding vegetation.

Multiflora Roses are actually growing too rapidly this year.  They normally sprout in cool weather and produce a tight cluster of dark green leaves.  The warm weather is causing the stems to elongate into a taller, less dense cluster of leaves.  Roses that shoot up too quickly must be pruned back before applying spray.  This adds quite a bit of extra time to the job, but it’s necessary to avoid killing a lot of the surrounding plants.

New growth on the Japanese Honeysuckle makes it easy to see the vines that avoided being cut by the mower. 

I’ll eventually cut all of the aerial Japanese Honeysuckle vines.  For now I’m just cutting those that are threatening particularly valuable or vulnerable trees.  I just remove the lower couple of feet of vine so it’s obvious that it has been treated.  I used to just cut the vine off at the ground, but then I couldn’t tell the difference between those that were cut and those still growing.

There’s still a lot of Japanese Honeysuckle growing at ground level.  That is something I’ll be dealing with later.

Of course warm weather also increases the tick activity.  I managed to collect a dozen American Dog Ticks in just a couple of hours.  Actually, I made it easy for them by laying in the field while trying to get pictures of a butterfly.  This handsome specimen is a male.

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