Glen Wunderlich

When professional hunter Philip Vanderpool asked me if I was getting ready for hunting season, I didn’t have to think long to respond with, “Always.”

It seems as though just about anything could fit the idea of getting ready, even if a particular chore isn’t directly related.

Lately, I’ve discovered some walnut trees on my land that would do well with less competition from surrounding indigenous shrubs and trees. Rather than jump right into destruction mode, I used surveyor’s tape to mark the removal zones for cutting sometime after the dastardly poison ivy subsides, but before firearms season begins Nov. 15.

Interestingly, several ash trees seem to have been missed by the voracious and deadly emerald ash borers. Too bad, but because of their immediate proximity to a walnut tree, I’ll cut them to ground level and treat the wounds with concentrated 2, 4-D or glyphosate applied neatly with a brush.

For smaller brush such a multi-flora rose, autumn olive, hawthorne and other pokey plants, the tool that gets the nod the Stihl Kombi Tool with a sickle bar attachment. It allows removal of the most offensive brush without having to get in there and grapple with stuff that’ll tear a person up. It’s one of the handiest weapons I’ve ever owned in the battle against invasive species and the like.

Plus, for anyone that must do battle with gnarly, spear-tipped brush in order to get into position to cut firewood, a few minutes with the sickle bar saves time and blood. The boys at S & K Farm and Yard of Owosso at (989) 723-2369 will get you set up.

Food plot prep has been an ongoing project this season, as well. In an effort to reduce the amount of herbicide being applied for weed control, my plan was to till the soil before the weeds got too unruly. Then, every few weeks I’d charge the battery in my 72-year-old Ford tractor and pull a small 6-foot disk harrow back and forth until the weeds were chopped to bits.

With an Aug. 1 planting date, a drag harrow was used to get the soil smooth to accept the broadcast brassica seed a few weeks ago. Knowing weeds would certainly germinate, an application of glyphosate would easily wipe the tender enemies out. Because fertilizer and lime were applied months ago, all that remains to finish the plots is to broadcast the seed and push them into the ground for good soil contact. They should subsequently germinate and grow tall, thus shading any late-germinating weeds into a weakened state and becoming over-powered by the large turnip and rape plants.

By now, you may have seen a commercial by lawyers against Monsanto, the makers of RoundUp, which is a trade name of glyphosate. There have been some large jury awards to persons with cancer claiming RoundUp as the cause. If you are wondering how the chemical can still be on the market, here is what the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has to say.

Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds and grasses. It has been registered as a pesticide in the U.S. since 1974. Since glyphosate’s first registration, EPA has reviewed and reassessed its safety and uses, including undergoing registration review, a program that re-evaluates each registered pesticide on a 15-year cycle.

In January 2020, after receiving and considering public comments on the glyphosate proposed interim decision, EPA released the interim decision for registration review. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. EPA also found that glyphosate is unlikely to be a human carcinogen. EPA is requiring management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays to intended pests, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.

With all of this being said, it remains wise to use as little as necessary. Yes, it takes more labor but a rewarding and safer tradeoff, nonetheless.

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