Some tips to apply basal bark herbicide:
Be careful applying these mixes in quality vegetation areas. It is not only a brush herbicide, but a broadleaf plant herbicide. It kills forbs!
In nice areas tighten up your application method. You can leave the pressure very low on the pack, and just gently press the trigger to get a minimum of herbicide on the stems. Or use a paint brush or paint sponge and carefully wipe the stems with the mix. You can also cut the shrub and dab on some mix this way, but the cutting is not necessary. You can wire a sponge to the tip of your backpack sprayer wand and then dab or wipe the mix with little dripping and no overspray. Don’t drip herbicide on good plants.
I generally don’t apply basal bark mix on hot days because it volatizes and perhaps harms nearby good plants. In good areas don’t apply unless it is sweater weather or cooler.
Mark some plants with tree marking paint so you can do your own testing. It is fun.
Expect to return to the area several years in a row to treat the ones you missed.
Expect to get some off target kill within 2 to 8 inches of the stems you sprayed, depending on how carefully you sprayed.
While treating honeysuckle also treat the autumn olive, buckthorn, and mesophytic trees like box elder.
Typically, I apply the mix to all the stems and all sides of the stems. When there is thorny brush in the way I don’t worry about getting all the stems treated.
Go after the scattering of shrubs in a field before worrying about the huge thickets.
Wear safety glasses. Folks who wear prescription glass might get side shields for the frames or wear goggles over your glasses.
Bring some paper towels to clean up. Some rubber gloves for when you are filling your pack or fiddling with the pack. Once you have got the pack working good you can go back to your thicker and warmer gloves.
Don’t fill the pack all the way. Halfway is plenty and will last a long time.
Take your time. You are going way faster than those folks cutting the shrubs. You can whistle while you work while they are still back at the shop preparing their chainsaw.
Elsewhere, I describe how to take care of your Birchmeier pack.
This year, we ramped up our basal bark solution on the advice of Rick Schulte of Crop Production Services. We increased the Garlon4 from 17% to 20%. And we add one quart of Vanquish herbicide to each 12.5 Gallons of mix. Others have adopted this mix so I am trying it out.
Future research question. If I basal bark honeysuckle in winter, say January, does an April fire that top kills the stems still kill the root of the shrub? My current sense is yes, but I don’t have the data.