To assist in local reforestation efforts, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin herbicide applications on select state lands in the Pine Island, Smokey Bear and Koochiching state forests.
Applications could start Monday and continue through approximately Sept. 15, said DNR staff in a news release.
Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites, and adjacent landowners within one-quarter mile of the treatment sites have already been notified, the release said.
"Herbicides will not be applied within 100 feet of any water body, following DNR herbicide application guidelines," the release said.
The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds, and maintain healthy forests. Part of the reforestation process involves applying herbicides to the harvested areas prior to or following tree planting.
Herbicides are sprayed on the ground after reforestation to reduce competing woody vegetation. This gives tree seedlings a better chance to grow and survive.
In smaller treatment areas, herbicides are sprayed from the ground, while in larger areas helicopters are used to spray the herbicides from the air using precise GPS-guided mapping.
"The DNR uses minimal amounts of herbicide only when absolutely necessary," said the release. "The DNR uses a non-neonicotinoid herbicide that has been proven safe for bees and other pollinators."
This past spring in the Littlefork area, the DNR Forestry Division planted more than 9,000 seedlings on 15 acres, and an additional 2,000 acres were seeded. Statewide, more than 1.9 million seedlings were planted on state forest lands and more than 5,300 acres were seeded this year.
For additional information on sites treated with herbicide in the Littlefork area, contact Lars Helleloid at 218-286-3334.
More information about the DNR’s Forestry Division can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/forestry.