Monthly Archives: July 2011

It’s after 4:00, and it has not rained. The 11 gallons of herbicide that I applied today to parts of the meadow will have a chance to work. I mixed 4 ounces of Triclopyr to each gallon of water. With the previous application, I have now put about 16 gallons in the meadow. We calculated that an acre would need 28 gallons at the practice rate of application. Since parts of the meadow don’t need treatment, I might be about finished. But I am not. I apply the herbicide more slowly and probably also more generously than in the test on bare concrete. For one thing, I have to keep an eye out for plants I don’t want to hit. It is not as simple as the concrete test area.
And it is hard to be methodical. The ground is uneven and the meadow was never planted in rows. The target plants of bittersweet and Black swallow-wort know no boundaries!
Maybe I should have set up string boundaries and moved them along as I sprayed.

Tomorrow, I hope to get back into the meadow with a full tank of herbicide on my back. Since it did not seem to matter which strength I used, I will stick with the weaker solution and spread it more densely in the thickest spots. For the individual outcroppings of bittersweet, a quick hit seems to be all that is needed to wilt the leaves.

I am sure that the best practice is to leave well enough alone after spraying, but I have pulled roots fr so many years that it is hard to resist the temptation. Today, when checking the compromised plants, I also did some pulling. Can it be that the roots are clinging to the soil less strongly? It did seem as though sprayed plants came up with big chunks of root without much effort. I know that my time is better spent in applying herbicide so I plan to get back to that task. I missed a few black swallow-wort plants, for example.

The label says: Rain 2 hours after application will not reduce effectiveness. Today — day 3 — it rained but the wilt in the black swallow-wort suggests that the herbicide is in the plant’s system.

First prayers answered. Twenty-four hours after the application of the herbicide, both strengths of herbicide had had an impact with no visible differences. Both caused lack swallow-wort and bittersweet to wilt at the top. Both wilted grape wines, poison ivy, broad-leaved dock, knotweed, but not grasses. So much for the statement on the label that the herbicide was non-specific.

I could not resist pulling more bittersweet. In the western part of the meadow near the row of evergreens, I pulled long, tough stems that had been flattened by the mowing in early June. In the area over the septic field, I pulled small amounts of bittersweet where it came so close to B. Trefoil that spraying bittersweet could harm Trefoil.

I practiced with the water but not in the meadow. Keeping an even application on uneven ground and with interruptions for milkweed so I fear I put down more herbicide than I should have on the forward patch of black swallow-wort. I changed the formula to the lighter amount for the patch further back (1 oz per quart versus 4 in the front).

In the back it was easier to find a rhythm. I think I put down less much less herbicide. In that part of the meadow, the invasives were not as dense and I like the single shot application. The bittersweet is less mature back there as well.

Now I have the predicament of wanting to do more but not knowing whether the minimum solution will do the trick. I guess I should wait 2 weeks but I would love to keep going. I think I used too much water in the 3 rinses. Next time I will use less. I sprayed a lot more plants — including the poison ivy around the hives — but I don’t know how much herbicide they actually got.

That reminds me that in the front section, I could not avoid hitting a good bit of the wild mint. We will not be able to pick any of that this season so I dug up a clump of a more edible mint from a neighbors garden to plant in the herb garden far from the herbicide action.

I can’t wait to see the results. I do hope the front piece doesn’t become a silent spring!

Today Carl and I went shopping for a back pack sprayer and herbicide. We bought both at Agway, along with a bale of what the store called straw that mad Carl mad because it was more hay-like with its seeds. I will complain next time I am there. Straw should not have seeds.

We had a practice session with a stop watch and a measured space to calculate the volume of liquid applied per square foot and per minute. Then Carl calculated the ratio of water to herbicide for a given area. The instructions said the herbicide was non-specific, i.e., as in RoundUp but the active ingredient is — not —

The nozzle that came with the applicator sprays the herbicide in a rectangle. Carl thought an oblong shape was better because it allows to overlap without increase the amount of herbicide applied. He changed the nozzle.

I tried to recreate his the sweeping motion with the wand while also pumping to keep the pressure. (My applicator is set on the lowest of 4 pressure calibrations.) It is not as easy as it looks. I made an arch shape that Carl didn’t like so I have to hold the wand ahead of me more and at a right angle to the rest of my body

It’s come to this. I will continue to cut and pull, but I am increasing my arsenal (literally) of defense against bittersweet and back swallow-wort. Carl Sawyer and I walked the meadow this evening to determine an herbicide plan.

I’ll keep a log of plant IDs elsewhere. Suffice it to say here: Carl identified lots of plants but found about as many for which we’ll have to consult Newcomb’s. He’s interested in keeping bees. Maybe we can swap his botanical knowledge for my bee keeping experience.