County to begin spraying road rights of way in June

The Morrison County Department of Public Works will be conducting limited spraying of road rights of way beginning in June. The area that will be the focus of this year’s work will be east of the Mississippi River and north of State Highway 27.

Minnesota has a statute that requires control of noxious weeds. In an effort to comply with this statute, Morrison County will make an effort to control noxious weeds in its rights of way. Also an effort to control brush and unwanted trees within the rights of way, Morrison County Public Works will conduct spot treatment to control the growth. This work will be performed 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. They are formulated specifically for application in rights of way areas.

Residents are asked to keep mind that the county includes in the combination of materials, 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.

One more thing to note is the fact that the county does not do a blanket type broadcast application, it only applies a spot treatment (that is, sprays only where there are unwanted noxious weeds or brush), once again resulting in a minimal amount being applied.

Timing of application is crucial. Materials 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.

Beekeeper concerns have 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. Again spot treatment will be utilized in 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 areas 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.

Those property owners who wish to be a part of this option, or who have questions about the program, may contact the Morrison County Public Works Department at (320) 632-0121.