Madrone Sprouts Are Killing Me

Asked October 21, 2020, 10:12 PM EDT

I'm trying to keep my small woodland plot open, with larger trees, for wildfire hazard. In some places there are madrone sprouts every two feet and I have many acres. Some grow around old stumps. Some seem attached to 1 inch thick stems running underground. I cut them back, but they grow too fast, and I can't keep up with it. Is there a way to kill these permanently? I don't like toxic chemicals, but I need to do something.

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

I hear you! This is a common issue in forestlands in SW Oregon. Use of a brushcutter with the appropriate blade (like a weedeater but with a brush blade instead of string) can make it faster and ergonomically easier to cut smaller re-sprouts, versus using loppers or a chainsaw. Of course, they will come back, as you've observed. Herbicides can be used to kill mature trees, kill spouts, and prevent re-sprouting. A common approach is a cut surface treatment, where the stem is cut and a concentrated herbicide is painted or sprayed on the surface within one hour or less of cutting. For larger stems the herbicide just needs to be applied to the outer inch or so. Foliage and basal treatments of existing clumps of sprouts are another option. Commonly used herbicides for madrone include glyphosate and imazapyr, but there are others. Optimal timing is important, and it often differs depending on the herbicide and application method. The Pacific Northwest Weed Control handbook has a good summary of options, suitable herbicides, and application techniques. Whenever applyinig herbicides, make sure to read and follow the label , use caution, and wear protective clothing as specified on the label. Contact your local Extension office and ask for the Extension Forester, or your local Oregon Department of Forestry Stewardship Forester, for more specific recommendations.