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Herbicide applications begin in Backus area as part of state land reforestation efforts

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Ground-applied herbicide vegetation control on 44.5 acres of land in the Backus area began July 18 and will continue through approximately Aug. 15 as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prepares sites for tree planting. Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites.

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“Herbicides are applied to state land to help establish new forests,” said Joel Lemberg, DNR program forester in Backus. “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 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 more than 3,000 football fields. This year, in the Backus area, more than 74,700 trees were hand planted, predominantly pines and spruces, on more than 90 acres during April and May.

In addition to herbicide treatment, the Backus area will be doing 70 acres of mechanical site preparation.

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