Most instructions for herbicides tell you to use them on weeds when it's warm enough that plants are actively growing. There are times, however, when using herbicides in the winter can give you several advantages. That's especially true when you're targeting woody species like oriental bittersweet, honeysuckle, and privet.

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Reasons To Treat In Winter

It's Easier to Get Around

It's often easier to access invasive woody species in the winter. There aren't as many other plants in the way since so many go dormant in the winter. And if it gets cold enough to freeze the ground, that reduces the risk of equipment you bring in causing soil compaction or tires putting ruts in the soil.

You Won't Kill Other Plants

In the winter, there's much less risk that your herbicide will accidentally kill plants that you want to keep safe. Most plants are dormant this time of year and it's easier to keep the herbicide off their leaves and stems. Just keep in mind that plants are also harder to identify when they're dormant. Make sure you're only targeting the plants that you want to kill.

You Have The Time

Fall herbicide treatments are generally better than winter. In the fall, the plants are transporting food reserves to the roots and they'll carry the herbicide at the same time. However, you don't always have enough extra time in the fall to tackle invasive woody plants. Winter treatments are often a good second option.

How To Apply Winter Herbicides

Cut Stump Treatment

Treating a cut stump with herbicide is one of the simplest ways to control woody invasive plants. It's also one of the herbicide treatments that will work in winter. Simply cut off the plant you want to kill close to the ground and immediately apply herbicide. Treat the entire top of the stump with an herbicide containing glyphosate or triclopyr. Click here for more information.

Basal Bark Treatment

This type of treatment is usually used to control large stands of thin-barked trees and shrubs. You apply this treatment by using an herbicide labeled for basal bark application to thoroughly wet the bottom 12 to 15 inches of each tree trunk. Click here for more information.

The Right Equipment

Whichever method you use for treating woody plants with herbicides, you're probably going to need a sprayer. You can apply cut stump treatment by painting the herbicide onto the stump or spraying it, though spraying is often easier. Basal bark treatment is usually applied with a backpack sprayer. That's a good way to cover more ground if you're treating a large area with lots of invasive plants. We carry several different sizes and styles of sprayers here at Richardson Saw, and we'll be happy to help you find the one that will work best for you.