Yet another aspect of I.R.V.M. in Mahaska County is the removal of roadside brush. This does several things for both the roadside and the road.
The brush in road ditches creates problems for the roads. They shade the roads during the winter and spring months delaying melting and drying which makes slick spots on the roadways. Brush also lets the road drift in when the snow starts blowing.
In the last few years, we have gone towards using heavy equipment in our brush removal endeavors. Using this system, we can clear miles of roadside brush each year. The machinery eliminates the need for crews to cut the brush up into manageable pieces.
Entire trees are now carried to piles and burned. Stumps are to be cut as low as possible and chemically treated to prevent respouts. This prevents vehicle damage if the car leaves the road. Our brush removal has improved significantly. During the summer months we also target problem brush by foliar spraying. Each year we travel every road in the county looking for brush and noxious weeds that need to be spot sprayed. We also use backpack sprayers in the winter months to target problem areas with basal bark and thin-line chemical treatment.
Controlled burns also help us in our quest to eliminate brush. It is all part of the integrated idea. There is no one right way. But, if we use these techniques in coordination with one another, we realize greater success.