Sometimes less is more for roadside managers trying to keep weeds and other undesirable vegetation along roadsides under control.
As a district roadside manager for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), William Wigley has found that saying to be true, as he employs flexible and multipurpose herbicides to keep not only the weeds along roadsides in check, but also his bottom line.
“When I began at MDOT 11 years ago, I found my district warehouse contained 27 different herbicide products, amounting to over $500,000 worth of product sitting in inventory,” Wigley said. “We’ve worked hard to streamline those amounts by adding herbicides that were versatile enough to use for multiple purposes.”
For him, the choice was Milestone specialty herbicide. He mixes the herbicide at 5 to 7 oz., along with Rodeo specialty herbicide at 24 oz. and 1 oz. of sulfometuron methyl for the majority of his high-volume foliar applications. The main target is thistles, particularly, sow thistle, which is prevalent in the area.
“Looking at the last two years of work with this mix, we’ve seen excellent results on thistles, and the mix has pretty much picked up every other winter annual and broadleaf weed that were present, as well,” Wigley said. “Our highways are beautiful and clean as a whistle when it comes to weeds. It’s also meant that we have been able to delay our first mowing of the season by almost a month.”
In addition to the high-volume foliar roadside work, Wigley also uses the specialty herbicide mix in side-trim applications in the summer and early fall — and has begun using it for some select dormant-stem side-trim.
Wigley has relied on a partnership with Mississippi State University when it comes to evaluating which herbicides to prescribe. University researchers carry out trials with new herbicides that come on the market and then share that valuable information with MDOT for evaluation.
The partnership with Mississippi State University helps keep MDOT ahead of the curve in finding flexible herbicides to recommend. And for Wigley, it’s meant that less is more.