The USDA Forest Service recently patented an equipment design to deliver herbicides more efficiently and cost-effectively. Towed by a standard all-terrain vehicle, the Crush and Spray can access out-of-the-way or wet locations. An adjustable roller first knocks down the unwanted plants. A low-set spray boom with wide angle sprayer nozzles then provides precise, close-to-the-ground application of herbicide along the length of each plant. The operator can easily control the flow of chemicals using a pressurized pumping system with a simple on–off switch. This Crush and Spray system treats targeted plants without wasting herbicides or creating overspray and chemical drift. In field trials over the course of 2 y, the Crush and Spray was used successfully to treat quackgrass (Elymus repens (L.) Gould [Poaceae]) and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. [Asteraceae]). On average, more than 96% of the plants treated in the Crush and Spray plots were successfully eliminated with just one application of herbicides. In comparison plots, the same chemicals delivered without the Crush and Spray effectively treated an average of 87% of the grasses and 77% of the broadleaf plants. An unexpected finding from the field trials was that plots treated with the Crush and Spray in year one had very low regrowth of weeds in year two even though no additional chemicals were applied.


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pp. 53-56
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