Herbicide simplified...the necessary evil in the battle against invasive woody species
Herbicide Simplified

To use or not to use? When dealing with non-native invasive species such as buckthorn ( Rhamnus ) and honeysuckle ( Lonicera), a highly effective way to prevent regrowth after cutting is the application of herbicide to the cut stump. Hand-pulling trees less than 1 inch in diameter is possible, but for larger trees, a painted-on herbicide is your best chance for eliminating these species. If herbicide isn't applied to a cut stump, they will re-sprout bigger and bushier than ever!

Figuring out the most effective way to use herbicide can be overwhelming, since lots of conflicting information exists. Read on for a simplified version for those just starting out.

Materials needed:
- Old paint brush, foam brush, or spray bottle
- Heavy gloves and clothing that will prevent herbicide from touching your skin
- Indicator dye (such as  Mark-It Blue)
- Jar that seals (ex: Mason jar) or similar container
- Concentrated Roundup (or an alternative brand that uses at least 41% glyphosate as the active ingredient), available online or at Home Depot, Farm 'n Fleet, Menards etc.

Instructions for Cut Stump Treatment:
1. Read the herbicide label! Can be very dangerous, make sure to familiarize yourself with all safety precautions.
2. Put on all necessary safety equipment.
3. Mix 1 part herbicide with 1 part water in a small container. ** To prevent freezing, keep your herbicide mix insulated when the air temperature is really cold (less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit). 
4. Add indicator dye to herbicide mix. This allows you to track stumps that you've already painted.
5. Cut the tree as close to the ground as possible (no higher than 3 inches).
6. Within 1 minute of cutting, apply the herbicide mix with either the paint/foam brush or a spray bottle. Apply to the top outer living edge of the cut stump (cambium layer).
7. Pile up your cut branches and burn it when pile is large and dry enough to ignite.

For more detailed information on herbicide's use in the removal of invasive species, read this  Wisconsin DNR article

***As an alternative to herbicide, the  Environmental Defenders of McHenry County has a weed wrench that can be rented. This can be used to manually remove invasive trees. While this is a viable alternative to herbicide application, it can create soil disturbance. It is important to distribute fast-growing native plant seed right away to outcompete aggressive non-native plants that thrive in disturbed areas (such as  garlic mustard). 

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County | Sarah Michehl smichehl@conservemc.org | 
815-337-9502 | www.conservemc.org 
See what's happening on our social sites: