We all enjoy trees, but when they contact power lines, they cause power outages and safety hazards.
During the summer, crews use backpack hand sprayers to apply herbicide to the leaves of woody vegetation growing under power lines. This is proven to be a safe, economical and effective method of maintaining the rights-of-way. Notifications are mailed each spring to members whose property is scheduled for maintenance.
We appreciate your cooperation and will always be respectful when working on your property.
Limited amounts of herbicides are selectively applied to control the growth of woody stemmed vegetation that can grow into overhead power lines and cause outages or fires. This application has proven to be safe and the most economical and effective approach to maintaining Polk-Burnett's rights-of-ways.
Following are the product labels and safety data sheets for the products that are being used this year:
|Accord XRT II Product Label||Accord XRT II SDS|
|Polaris AC Product Label||Polaris AC SDS|
|MSO Product Label||MSO SDS|
|Escort XP Product Label||Escort XP SDS|
Because trees and overhead power lines do not mix, woody stemmed vegetation will receive application and over time allow the native grasses and plants to prosper. This not only creates a safe work zone for our field crews, but also a desirable environment for much of the wildlife in our area.
Polk-Burnett contracts with trained licensed applicators.
Trained licensed applicators, using a hand wand and backpack container, walk the rights-of-way to selectively target woody stemmed vegetation only. Tanker trucks and broadcast spraying simply are not necessary.
The herbicides we use are similar to products found in your local gardening store and have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Product labels and safety data sheets (SDS) containing all the information pertaining to the products are available upon request.
When a right-of-way is initially cleared, herbicide is applied for three consecutive years. When this initial application cycle has been completed, applications will occur once every three years. Polk-Burnett continually evaluates the cycle lengths to see if they can be lengthened as the woody vegetation growth becomes less prominent. As the cycle progresses, less woody vegetation is present and accordingly, less herbicide needs to be applied.
All members receive annual notification through the May edition of our “Powerlines” newsletter via mail or e-mail. A personal notification postcard is sent out to all properties that are receiving herbicide application for the first time.
It is crucial for the leaves to develop before the product is applied. Applications generally begin around June 1 and continue until complete or September 15, whichever occurs first.
Polk-Burnett prefers to use herbicides as it is considerably less expensive than mowing and helps to hold expenses down. However, we understand that it is your property and will honor your request to not apply herbicides on your property.
If you don't find your property, submit an online form to add your property.
The alternate approach to applying herbicide is mechanical mowing. Major concerns with mowing include the aesthetics afterwards, costs, noise levels while performing the work, prone to creating ruts, and erosion.
This is a common request, such as near a garden, and most often it is not necessary to apply herbicides in these areas as undergrowth is not generally present where the property is maintained with grass or gardens. However, if woody stemmed growth is present, certain areas can be avoided at your request. Polk-Burnett would much prefer to work with a property owner and avoid certain areas rather than not apply to the whole property. Again, it is the member’s responsibility to inform Polk-Burnett of those areas where application should be avoided.
If you decline the use of herbicide on your property the first step is to notify Polk-Burnett of your decision. Next, we ask that you place signs beneath the overhead power line to help our contractors identify your property boundaries. Polk-Burnett cannot be responsible for product being applied on your property if we are not contacted by the member or if signs are not put out to identify the property boundaries.
You can make your own signs or Polk-Burnett can send you a paper sign. The sign should state "no application" and include your Polk-Burnett location number or address. Laminate or place your sign in a clear plastic bag and install under the overhead power line at each end of your property. This will help the herbicide applicator identify your property boundaries as they walk the right-of-ways.
It is not recommended walking through a treated area until the vegetation has dried completely. Exposure may occur from walking across an area still damp from a foliar treatment. However, the dose you would receive from this type of activity is not likely to cause any harm.
You should not consume berries that have been treated with herbicide.
The herbicide Polk-Burnett uses affects plants only. An active ingredient within the herbicide disrupts the growth process within the plant by affecting enzymes unique to plants. These herbicides do not have a similar effect on animals or insects. However, any compound in a high enough concentration can be toxic. The EPA requires extensive testing before being introduced to the market to assure that there are no unintended effects on pets, livestock or wildlife.
Polk-Burnett is happy to work with registered organic farmers. The first step is to notify Polk-Burnett of your organic status. However, even though the application is low volume and is performed when there is little to no wind, organic farmers are required to maintain a 25-foot buffer from the edge of the right-of-way.
To apply herbicide in Wisconsin, it is required by the state that all applicators obtain certification prior to performing application. It is allowable for new applicators to apply herbicides under a temporary permit while obtaining a license. However, they must be directly supervised at all times and be within speaking distance of a trained, licensed applicator. Polk-Burnett requires contractors to provide copies of their certification at the pre-application meeting.
To discuss how your property is maintained or if you have questions pertaining to herbicide application, please contact the manager of rights-of-way at 800-421-0283, ext. 329.
Add your property to no-herbicide list
First, please enter your location number to see if your property is already on list
If your request is received after herbicide application, the change will apply for future right-of-way maintenance.