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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Treating Cut Stumps Now Saves Work Later

Our Extension Range Specialists have developed a tremendous series of publications called “Brush Busters.” One of those is titled “How to Avoid Lumps When Treating Cut Stumps.” Many landowners in Williamson County are clearing out brush but it is not going to go away but instead will resprout and cause even more problems.
Most species of woody plants resprout profusely from belowground crowns or roots if the aboveground growth is damaged or removed. Because these sprouts grow very rapidly, removing the aboveground growth of these plants with pruning shears, chain saws, axes, hydraulic shears, shredding, fire, etc., often intensifies woody plant problems. A high percentage of these plants can be killed, however, if you spray the stump with a specific herbicide treatment immediately after cutting it.
Professionals with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research have developed, tested and approved the cut stump method for general woody plant control. Although your results may vary, you should be able to kill about nine of every ten plants you treat. Brush Busters recommends two different herbicide sprays for cut stump applications, depending on the species treated. One spray is for many species of hardwoods, the other is for redberry cedar.
For hardwoods a mixture of Remedy™ herbicide and diesel fuel oil or vegetable oil is recommended. Diesel fuel oil or vegetable oil acts as coating agents and penetrates to ensure good coverage and absorption of the herbicide. The recommended mixture is 15 percent Remedy™ and 85 percent diesel fuel oil or vegetable oil. Using vegetable oil instead of diesel fuel oil increases the cost but may be desirable in some situations. One vegetable oil known to mix well with Remedy™ is JLB Oil Plus™.
For redberry cedar use a mixture of 4% Tordon 22K™ herbicide and water. To ensure that you coat the cut stump thoroughly and that the herbicide is absorbed adequately, add either liquid dishwashing detergent or a nonionic surfactant to the spray mix. It may be helpful to add a spray-marking dye such as Hi-Light™ Blue Dye to mark the stumps that have been sprayed. When mixing, add half the desired quantity of water to the spray tank. Then add the Tordon 22K™, the surfactant and the dye to the tank. Finally, using water under pressure to agitate and mix the spray mix, fill the tank to the final volume.
For both methods cut every stem of the plant as close as possible to the soil surface, but not below the soil surface. Make sure your cuts are level so that the herbicide mix won’t run off too quickly before absorption. Avoid leaving soil on the cut surface which will interfere with chemical uptake. Spray the stump immediately after cutting it. Adjust the spray nozzle so that it delivers a coarse mist in a cone-shaped pattern. Hold the spray wand so that the nozzle is within 1 or 2 inches of the stump and spray the entire cut surface until it is wet, especially the outer edges. Spray the sides of the stump and root collar also, almost to the point of runoff. Remember that this is not fool-proof but you can get 90% control.

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