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Herbicide applications begin in Park Rapids, Nimrod as reforestation efforts

Ground-applied herbicide vegetation control on 339 acres of land in the Park Rapids and Nimrod areas have begun and will continue through approximately Aug. 15 as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources prepares sites for tree planting. Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites.

“Herbicides are applied to state land to help establish new forests,” explained Mike Lichter, DNR area program forester, Park Rapids. “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 Park Rapids and Nimrod areas, more than 45,620 trees have been hand planted, predominantly pines and spruces, on more than 320 acres during April and May.

In the last 10 years, the DNR has planted or seeded close to 70,000 acres, an area of state forest land equivalent to a strip one-quarter mile wide by 430 miles long, stretching from the southwest corner of Minnesota to the tip of the Arrowhead along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

In addition to herbicide treatments, 420 acres of mechanical site preparation will occur in the Park Rapids and Nimrod areas.

The majority of trees planted in northern Minnesota are red pine, the state tree, and other native conifers. Oak and other native hardwoods are widely planted in the state forests of southeastern Minnesota.