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April 2016

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Selective herbicides benefit the land while treating weeds

The nearly 10 million acres of utility rights-of-way in the United States are traditionally viewed as unsightly corridors cutting through the landscape. But that is changing thanks in large part to some forward-thinking vegetation managers and more innovative herbicide technology.

While nonselective mechanical methods may be needed to establish new rights-of-way, maintaining them can be done in a manner that is much more beneficial to the land and the wildlife that call it home. The key: selective herbicides like Milestone® specialty herbicide.

Deliver reliable power and benefit native habitat.
When rights-of-way are managed properly, pollinators and other threatened wildlife species are actually drawn to these areas of improved habitat. Using selective herbicide treatments helps create a diverse and healthy plant community. And when the native plant community is allowed to take hold, it shields the land from noxious and invasive plants and provides a beneficial habitat for area wildlife.

Native wildlife use shrubs and forbs for two main purposes: food or shelter. The shrubs and forbs that are most desirable or beneficial for your managed land depends mostly on geographic location, but also on individual land management goals. In several Western states, sagebrush at the “right” density is considered highly desirable as forage for deer, elk and other wildlife. In Texas, brush species like elderberry and yucca are deemed valuable to numerous species of native wildlife.

Milestone is labeled to control a number of tough annual, biennial and perennial broadleaf weeds, including many noxious and invasive species, as well as certain woody plants. It’s selective to desirable grasses, but now, university studies have shown that many native forbs and shrubs are also tolerant of Milestone.

Studies demonstrate selectivity to desirable forbs and shrubs.
University studies were conducted in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota; determined the longterm response of native forbs and shrubs to applications of Milestone; and developed a tolerance ranking for native plants.

In short, the studies showed that Milestone, when applied at the labeled rate of 5 to 7 fluid ounces per acre, exhibited very good selectivity toward desirable forbs and shrubs, especially in the second year following application.

In all, there were 120 different native forbs across sites. The individual tolerance to Milestone® specialty herbicide was established for 90 native forb species and 19 shrubs (see table). After one year, evaluations showed that of the 90 forb species categorized, 34 were ranked tolerant, 19 moderately tolerant, 14 moderately susceptible and 23 susceptible.

Table

After two years, the results were analyzed again, and the data showed that many forbs had recovered further (50 were ranked tolerant and 21 moderately tolerant). Only 19 of 90 native forbs ranked either moderately susceptible or susceptible as compared with 37 in the first season, showing a good recovery of many forbs.


Piechart
Shrubs were generally more tolerant than forbs to Milestone. Of the 19 shrub species present, 74 percent were ranked either moderately tolerant or tolerant to the application of Milestone at one year after treatment.

For a complete summary report, visit techlinenews.com.