Woody plant control

The cut-stump technique is a method of applying herbicide directly to the vascular tissue of the plant.

Winter Weed Control: Woody plant control—Cut-stump

The issue:

The cut-stump technique is a method of applying herbicide directly to the vascular tissue of the plant. It then moves through the plant (translocation).

This technique works very well on shrubs and large and small trees and can be used any time of year when weather permits access to the trees. Because the vascular tissue is exposed, either oil-based or water-based herbicides can be used.

The cut stump application technique works well on most woody species. The tree is cut within twelve inches from the ground and the herbicide is applied to the sapwood area (the outer growth rings) of the stump, where translocation takes place. In the case of shrubs or multi-stemmed trees, each stub needs to be treated. Herbicide application should occur within 15 minutes of the tree top removal.

Many broadleaf and non-selective herbicides typically have the cut-stump application technique on the label, especially if they are intended to control woody plants. Most labels allow this application with an undiluted or 50:50 dilution solution at a rate of 1 – 2 milliliters of herbicide per inch of trunk diameter. A livestock dosage syringe is a handy tool for this.

The cut-stump application technique is very targeted in that only target plants are treated. It is possible for roots of the same species to pass the herbicide from one to the other. Also, herbicides with high soil activity may bleed from the tree roots into the soil and be picked up by other plants. So be aware of possible non-target issues below the soil surface.

Be sure the target weed and crop or landscape situations and application techniques are listed on the product label. Always read and follow herbicide label directions.

For more information, contact Ron Patterson, University of Idaho Extension horticulture/agriculture educator in Bonneville County.