Eastern red cedar trees seem to be exploding in many area pastures. These trees reduce forage production, make animal handling difficult, and encourage pastures to shift from warm-season to cool-season grasses, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomist.
Cedar control can be achieved using herbicides, cutting, or fire. "By far the least expensive, when it can be used safely, is fire. But the effectiveness of fire declines as trees get large. Herbicides like Tordon 22K applied directly to the soil beneath the tree work very well, but they're time consuming and more expensive. While cutting can be less expensive, it is even more time consuming, especially if cut trees need to be removed," he says.
Recent research in Nebraska has shown that a combination of control measures can combine the strengths of each method while overcoming most disadvantages.
For best results, a prescribed fire is needed to kill many smaller trees and to weaken or improve accessibility to larger trees. It also can be used periodically, maybe every four to eight years, to eliminate new infestations, he says. .
"After the prescribed burn, it might be best to wait a year before using herbicides or cutting to complete the job because some trees that appear to survive the fire will die," says Anderson. "This minimizes the number of trees to cut or treat with herbicides."
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, editor Beef Today.