3 Reasons to Invest in Dormant-season Brush Control

Something went wrong. Please try again later...
Dormant Stem for Vistas article

Dormant season is quickly approaching, but there’s no reason to skip remaining brush treatments. In fact, doing so may cost you more and give incompatible brush species time to grow. Dormant-season treatments are effective and economical, allowing vegetation managers to address incompatible brush left untreated during the foliar season. These applications can be made from fall through the winter and even into spring.

While the temperatures and growing season wind down, here are three reasons to invest in dormant-season brush control:

  1. Save on maintenance costs
    1. When left to its own devices, brush can grow up to 40% each year. When brush starts to boom on roadsides or utility rights-of-way, more time and material are needed to treat what’s now grown into a hard-to-control problem. In fact, field research has shown that delaying routine maintenance by a single growing season can double annual maintenance costs.Vegetation management programs that integrate dormant-season treatments can avoid increased costs caused by deferred maintenance while keeping their crews working and maximizing their maintenance budgets.
  2. Treatment flexibility
    1. Dormant-season applications provide the opportunity to expand treatment windows, and allow crews to catch up or get ahead of planned treatment cycles. As a result, vegetation managers can make use of late-season funding.
  3. Biodiversity benefits
    1. Applicators can use selective herbicide mixes for dormant-season applications. By selectively controlling problematic brush species, this supports the development of early successional habitat that is not only compatible with ROW corridors but also surrounding wildlife, pollinators and desirable plant species.

If you didn’t check brush control off your spring or summer to-do list, there’s no reason to roll it onto next year’s and miss out on decreased maintenance costs, treatment flexibility and biodiversity benefits. Here are dormant-season strategies and products to help you through dormant-season brush control:

  • Dormant-stem treatment
    • Recommended for brush up to 10 feet tall or 2 inches in diameter
    • Treatments are applied to the stems and trunk of targeted plants 
    • To improve herbicide penetration, enhance coverage and optimize results, the use of basal oils is recommended
    • Apply from fall leaf senescence until 25% plant leafout in the spring
    • Popular product recommendation: Tank mix featuring Garlon® 4 Ultra and TerraVue® herbicides from Corteva Agriscience
  • Basal bark treatment
    • Best suited for areas with 500 stems per acre or less
    • Recommended for individual stems no larger than 6 inches in diameter
    • Treat the lower 12 to 15 inches of a targeted stem’s base using a selective herbicide mix and highly targeted application method
    • Not to be used for environments where snow or water prevent spraying to the ground line
    • Popular product recommendation: Garlon® 4 Ultra herbicide
  • Basal cut-stump treatment
    • Perfect for treating individually cut woody plants
    • Apply a selective herbicide mixture to the cambium layer and any exposed bark or roots that remain
    • Popular product recommendation: Garlon 4 Ultra herbicide

Individual plant treatments may be used at a maximum use rate of 8 quarts of Garlon 4 Ultra herbicide per acre. Always check the product labels for state registrations, controlled species and recommended use rates.

Contact your local VM specialist from Corteva Agriscience for more comprehensive training and customized solutions. 

Under normal field conditions, TerraVue® is nonvolatile. TerraVue has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with TerraVue and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. TerraVue is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Consult the label for full details. State restrictions on the sale and use of Garlon® 4 Ultra apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.


Connect with Vegetation Management:



Find Your Local VM Specialist


For over 30 years, Vistas® has covered strategies, trends and stories from across the Vegetation Management industry.

Explore Vistas®

Subscribe to Vistas®