23 June 2012


Around here we have big problems with invasive weeds.  Weed control is a serious business. The best known and much despised is napweed but I also am having a dickens of a time with Canadian Thistle. Those thistle can grow, and frequently do, taller than me.

One side of my property fronts a forest service road and everyone who comes up here imports something or other. The weeds I can forgive because it's no one's fault. The beer cans and other litter not so much. The majority of my napweed are along this line and relatively easy to get at but I have had the feeling I was losing ground. It seems like it just keeps spreading.

The thistle is even more difficult because it can be found throughout my forty acres. This is rough mountain terrain not pool table flat like down in the valley. Forty acres isn't all that big as Montana land goes but it seems gargantuan when trying to hunt down thistle amongst the trees and undergrowth. The monsoon this season has brought incredible moisture, around thirty inches. Believe me when I say It's a Jungle Out There!

I decided that this year I was going to really wage war on these dastardly weeds. I contacted the forest service to get a recommendation for herbicide and other advice on how to attack these weeds. Milestone was recommended for the herbicide. That was good advice but,  everything else I was told about treating the weeds with it was complete bupkus. In my experience that's par for the forest service. Also, the advice I got at the CHS, the ag. store where I purchased it, $110.00/qt., was totally useless. I know this because I called Milestone in Michigan and got the low down directly from the horses mouth.

I ordered up an ATV sprayer from Northern Tool and assembled it yesterday. I was in a hurry because according to the forest service I needed to spray immediately as this is the optimum time. The guy even suggested I not wait for my sprayer but get after it with the backpack sprayer. Thank goodness I blew that idea off.

I got the sprayer put together, pressure checked and ready to go in about and hour and a half. Thank goodness I am math challenged because when it came to figuring out the mix rate I was lost and had to seek help. I couldn't figure out the rate card to save my soul. I called CHS to get their input on the mix rate but didn't feel comfortable with what I was told. So I Google Milestone and called them directly. CHS had told me to use 5 oz. Milestone told me 1.75 max. Using too much can render the herbicide ineffective.

I also learned, from Milestone, that I didn't want to treat the napweed until they were in full bolt and the thistle not until they were in bloom. My tax dollars at work. Yours too BTW.

So now I wait to do battle. Those buggers are in for it now! Below is a photo of my battle wagon equipped with gun and ammunition.

ATV with North Star Spot Sprayer
©Kinsey Barnard

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