Managing Forest Vegetation Using Herbicides - webinar

Forestry labeled herbicides can be an effective means of controlling undesirable forest vegetation and may present fewer risks to the forest manager when compared to the use of chainsaws or brush saws.  They are used for achieving many objectives including: establishing desirable regeneration, increasing tree growth and timber production, creating and enhancing wildlife habitat, and controlling non-native/invasive plants.  This webinar highlighted forestry herbicide application methods, products, and treatment guidelines for controlling competing and invasive vegetation.  Presented by David R. Jackson, Extension Educator/Forester, Penn State Extension.

The 2/15/2012 webinar by Dave Jackson (links to recording archives are below) was a well attended and highly interactive presentation.  Dave's webinar drew the largest ForestConnect webinar to date, and the discussion lasted for almost 30 minutes during both the noon and evening session. 

The attendance and interaction suggest a strong interest among woodland owners and forester managers to learn strategies that are effective, efficient, and typically safer than other tools such as chainsaws and brush saws.  Dave's presentation discussed the types of plants that interfere with private forest owner objectives to regenerate and maintain diversity.  He discussed the reasons why we have the current problems with interfering plants, and he gave a streamlined look at the primary types of herbicides and application methods that owners and managers might consider for the common vegetation management projects.  Two particularly interesting points: (1) herbicides are often used just once during a normal hardwood rotation of 80 to 100 years, and (2) the goal of forest herbicide applications is not full and extended control, but adequate control of undesired plants for months or a few years to allow desirable plants to establish.  Here is Dave's forest vegetation management website that addresses the use of integrated vegetation management in forests.  An important first step is the bulletin on using herbicides for forest management, available here.

A couple important caveats, based on the webinar and with general guidance for NY:

  • Be sure to check with your state regulatory agency as to what products are registered for distribution in your state.  Here is a web site to do that:
  • When owners use an herbicide (herbicides are a type of pesticide that affects plants), the herbicide has a label, and the label is effectively a contract between the user and the state regulatory authority.  It is imperative to read and follow the label.  The label is the law.  The overwhelming majority of information on the PSU website is applicable to NY, but NY has some distinct laws about which herbicides can be used.  To check on specific NY herbicides, visit this site or the Cornell pesticide page at
  • The PSU web site has a wealth of information on herbicides.  Information is available on: herbicide treatment guidelines, common forestry herbicides, herbicides by application method, herbicide applicators and distributors, and trees controlled.
  • Herbicides can be applied through one of several different application methods.  These are detailed on the PSU website, and include for example: stem injection, basal bark, and foliar.  The correct method depends on several factors.  Consider your situation before selecting an application method.
  • You can narrow down the options of the product to use based on the bulletin listed and linked above and by talking with people who have experience with multiple products. Once you have some options, review the labels online.  The labels will specify for NY which products are legal with a particular application method.  NY pesticide law requires the user to confirm the label documents the correspondence of the product, application method, and target species.  The label will also give the “recipe” to mix the chemical to the appropriate concentration.  In NY, it is legal for agricultural application, including forester, to apply a chemical at less than the specified rate.  Some situations may not require a full strength application.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension and NYFOA often have workshops that discuss and illustrate examples of herbicide applications.  Take advantage of these workshops to learn about equipment and products.  Work with your local CCE office or NYFOA chapter if there isn’t a workshop scheduled near your home county.

Webinar recording links



The label is the law.  Read and follow the label.  Work safely.

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