The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
Since we have been talking about timber stand improvement (TSI) the last couple of weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to mention some specific chemicals that you can use to treat stumps, girdle trees to kill standing, or for use in the technique referred to as hack and squirt. All of these methods result in more light getting to the forest floor resulting in more tender plant growth beneficial to wildlife.
Girdling is accomplished by cutting a ring around the trunk of the tree and applying a herbicide in the cut. Cutting through the cambium under the tree bark is an age-old practice that shuts off the flow of water and nutrients up to the branches and leaves, eventually killing the tree. Settlers in Jamestown did it with axes to clear land for growing food. A chainsaw is the tool used today. Usually a chemical like Tordon is then applied to the cut.
The hack and squirt method is where the squirt bottle comes in. Forest managers in this part of the country usually use Polaris in their squirt bottles. Since different trees are more susceptible than others to the chemical, a safe mixture to kill most species is 80% Polaris and 20% water. For every three inches in trunk diameter, make a cut on the side of the tree and apply a small squirt of chemical. This treatment is effective most of the year except in the spring when the sap is rising in the trees.
Dr Craig A. Harper in his Forrest Stand Improvement booklet suggests a mixture of: Triclpyr (Garlon 3A) 50%, Water 40% and 10% Imazape ( ArsenalAC) at 10% mixed in that order to kill everything that you might hack and squirt.
Garlon 3A (triclopyr) is less effective on some species including hickory and sourwood. Arsenal AC (imazapyr) is less effective on locusts, redbud, elm and hop hornbeam. When you combine them, their strengths and weaknesses overlap, and you can kill any tree you encounter. Hop hornbean is usually called ironwood in Missouri. The Polaris that I squirt it with is very effective.
These chemicals are expensive but they go a long way and allow you to cover a lot of ground using only a slight amount of chemical in your timber.