The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began herbicide applications on select state lands to improve reforestation efforts around July 22 and will continue through approximately Sep. 15. Sites are located in the Hill River, Savanna, and Solana State Forests.

Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites. Adjacent landowners within a quarter mile of the treatment sites have already been notified. Herbicides will not be applied within 100 feet of any water body, following DNR herbicide application guidelines.

The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds, and maintain healthy forests. Part of the reforestation process involves applying herbicides to the harvested areas prior to or following tree planting.

Herbicides are sprayed on the ground after reforestation to reduce competing woody vegetation. This gives tree seedlings a better chance to grow and survive.

In smaller treatment areas, herbicides are sprayed from the ground. In large treatment areas, helicopters do aerial spraying using precise GPS-guided mapping. The DNR uses minimal amounts of herbicide only when absolutely necessary. The DNR uses a non-neonicotinoid herbicide that has been proven safe for bees and other pollinators.

This past spring in the Aitkin area, the Forestry Division planted more than 110,000 seedlings on 175 acres, and an additional 25 acres were seeded. Statewide, more than 1.9 million seedlings were planted on state forest lands and more than 5,300 acres were seeded this year.

For additional information on sites treated with herbicide in the Aitkin area, contact Matt Huseby at 218-697-2476.

More information about the DNR’s Forestry Division can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/forestry.

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