Herbicide applications to begin in the Aitkin area as part of state land reforestation efforts

Herbicide applications will begin in the Aitkin area according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This is being done as one of several reforestation operations conducted by the DNR’s Division of Forestry to control vegetation on newly established forests.

Ground applied herbicide application on 52 acres of state land in the Aitkin area will begin approximately July 15th and will continue through approximately September 12th. Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites.

“Herbicides are applied to state land to help establish new forests,” explained Daren Wysocki, area assistant forestry supervisor. “Herbicides help minimize competition between existing vegetation and newly planted trees.”

The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watershed values and maintain the quality of state forests. Part of the reforestation process involves applying herbicides to the harvested areas prior to, or following, tree planting. Once a planting site has been prepared, professional foresters determine the tree species appropriate for the site and private contractors hired by the DNR do the actual planting.

More than 4,000 acres of state forest lands are planted and seeded each year. This is equivalent to over 3,000 football fields. This year, in the Aitkin area alone, DNR foresters have seeded about 150 acres and planted over 85 acres during May. Over 73,000 trees, predominantly pines, have been hand planted on sites prepared during the past year.

Over the last 10 years, the DNR has planted or seeded close to 100,000 acres. Pines are the major species planted. During that 10 year time period, the DNR has planted over 5 million white pine on state lands to restore this valuable tree in Minnesota’s forested landscape. Many other native tree species are also planted. Oak and other native hardwoods are widely planted in the state forests of southeastern Minnesota.

More information about the DNR’s forestry division can be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry.