The world of herbicides is overwhelming and somewhat confusing, making it difficult for landowners to determine what herbicides they should invest in and what these herbicides can be used for. In the spirit of clarifying this subject, here are my 4 favorite herbicides and what I use them for.
Glyphosate is a great “all-purpose” herbicide that is a broad-spectrum nonselective herbicide capable of killing grasses, forbs, and some woody plants. There are some plants that are glyphosate resistant, like pigweed and horseweed, but for the most part glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide for killing all herbaceous plants. This herbicide is great for burning down food plots prior to planting and killing invasive species like tall fescue!
Clethodim is a grass-selective herbicide best suited for removing grasses without damaging forbs (i.e. grass control in forb based food plots). Some perennial grasses like bermudagrass and johnsongrass are not controlled by clethodim, but it is very effective on annual grasses that invade food plots. I personally like using clethodim to control invasive japangrass in forests that have beneficial forbs growing that I wish to retain.
Imazapyr and triclopyr work well together but each has specific strengths and weaknesses. Imazapyr is a great herbicide for controlling woody growth and it doesn’t kill legumes or blackberry while doing it! That alone makes this herbicide a deer managers best friend, but my primary use for imazapyr is hack and squirt timber stand improvements. Additionally, if you are wanting to control bermudagrass imazapyr is your best bet. When applied in mid-summer and then followed up in subsequent years with spot-spraying, imazapyr can help you control invasive bermudagrass.
Triclopyr is a great herbicide to accompany imazapyr when doing TSI, because there are some tree species that one or the other won’t control. For instance, triclopyr can be used to kill musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana), but it will not kill sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum). Likewise, imazapyr will kill sourwood but it doesn’t kill elm trees. A mixture of these two herbicides work well for hack and squirt as it will kill almost any tree species! Just make sure to mix the triclopyr and water in your spray bottle prior to mixing in the imazapyr, otherwise the mixture will gum up!
Let’s Get Spraying
Guys, I know herbicides are not for everyone. Some managers may be apprehensive about applying chemicals on the landscaping, and that is why I recommend you always follow the herbicide label to ensure safe application. Hopefully you these herbicides a try in the future, they can be quite helpful when applied at the right time and place!