A limited amount of spraying of road rights of way for noxious weeds will begin in June. The focus area this year is east of the Mississippi River and south of State Highway 27.
Minnesota has a statute that requires control of noxious weeds and spraying the rights of way for noxious weeds is to remain in compliance with this statute.
An effort will also be made to control brush and unwanted trees within the rights of way, with spot treatment to control the growth. This work will be done by an independent private contractor under the direction of the Morrison County Public Works Department.
The herbicides applied to Morrison County roadside rights of way are formulated and designed to control noxious weeds and unwanted brush along rights of way. These herbicides are not the same herbicides as are used in agricultural type weed control, but are formulated specifically for right of way applications.
Included in the combination of materials the county uses is a drift retardant to minimize drift, as well as an activator to break down the surface tension on the leaf of the plant to assist with better absorption and better plant intake of the materials being applied.
The county does not do a blanket type broadcast application, but only a spot treatment spraying only where there are unwanted noxious weeds or brush, to minimize the amount of material being applied.
Timing of application is crucial, since the herbicides must be applied when plants are actively growing. For noxious weeds it is best to make the application early, before the weeds head out and start to re-seed themselves. For brush the best time to make any applications is in the months of June, July and August while the plants are actively growing.
Concerns of beekeepers has been an important issue in conducting this work. The department works with the contractor to assure that the application is made at the low end of the use rate chart to minimize the effects on bees. The department will work to conduct the applications before noxious weeds are in bloom to avoid bees. The contractor will avoid areas that may have a high density of wild flowers. The spot treatment used is an effort to minimize the impact on bees and the area being treated.
Organic growers and individual property owners that would rather not have noxious weed and brush sprayed on rights of way along their property may opt out. The spraying application will not be conducted along these areas provided the property owner contact the Public Works Department and enter into an agreement to control the weed and brush themselves and proper signs are in place delineating the areas that spraying should not be done.
Residents who wish to be a part of this option, may contact the Morrison County Public Works Department at (320) 632-0121 and ask for Bill Leidenfrost.
County residents with questions about the program may also contact the department.