Chemical Applications

It is sometimes necessary for us to use chemical applications in combination with prescribed fire and mechanical techniques to restore and maintain the native, pine-barrens plant communities.

A gloved hand holding a can of glyphosate applies the herbicide directly to a cut sapling stump.
Direct application of glyphosate to an invasive species.


Why chemical management?

We are tasked with restoring and maintaining an inland pine barrens ecosystem within the preserve. Although we prefer to use prescribed fire and mechanical techniques to accomplish this goal, these tools are at times ineffective. Many plants will not be killed outright by fire or cutting alone. Most will re-sprout from the stump and/or root system. In either case, cutting or burning creates even more of the undesirable plants rather than less! Plants that can’t be killed by fire or cutting are treated with herbicides to eliminate them from the landscape.


The nitty-gritty

We use several different herbicides for chemically managing plants in the preserve, depending on the time of year and specific plant species to be controlled. The most common herbicide we use is Glyphosate (active ingredient in Round-Up). More information can be found in the Invasive and Overabundant Species Management Plan for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve (Appendix E of the 2017 Management Plan Update).


Chemical management is most common in the fall and winter, but we use it selectively at other times of year.



Cut-stump treatments are primarily used on woody plants less than four inches in diameter. This technique requires cutting the plant down with loppers, a brushcutter or a chainsaw, and then dripping concentrated herbicide onto the freshly cut stump. This is a very targeted method that results in almost no effect on adjacent plants.

Drill and fill

Tree trunks with holes drilled in them. The holes look blue becasue of a chemical herbicide that has been applied.

Drill and fill treatments are primarily used on woody plants with a diameter of greater than four inches.  This method involves drilling a series of one-inch diameter holes every eight inches around the circumference of the tree. These holes are then filled with concentrated herbicide. This is a very targeted method that results in almost no effect on adjacent plants.


Scrub oak leaves with blue herbicide being sprayed directly onto them.

Foliar treatments are primarily used on dense patches of plants that would be too time-consuming to treat with one of the other methods. This technique requires spraying the leaves of a plant with a diluted herbicide solution. This method is less well targeted than the other herbicide application techniques and may impact some surrounding vegetation.