DIY Mesquite Control Makes a Difference

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Rancher spraying pasture

Hand-spraying mesquite when it’s small can be a simple, do-it-yourself enterprise that can save you money. Left alone, mesquite just grows bigger and denser, robbing more grass production and becoming more of a physical barrier to managing livestock. 

For easy application in the summer, the Range & Pasture experts with Corteva Agriscience suggest an individual plant treatment (IPT) known as leaf spraying. Leaf spraying — hand-spraying the mesquite foliage — works well on mesquite that is less than 8 feet tall. Control generally exceeds 70%. 

The recommended mix for hand-spraying mesquite foliage is 1% Sendero® herbicide in water with a surfactant (see Table 1). Adding a dye, such as Hi-Light blue dye, will help you see your coverage of the plant and mark the plants you’ve treated.

Table 1. Herbicide mix for hand-applied leaf-sprays on mesquite*

Ingredient

Concentration in

spray solution

                    Tank size

3 gal.

14 gal.

25 gal.

Sendero®

herbicide

1%

4 oz.

18 oz.

32 oz.

Surfactant

¼%

1 oz.

5 oz.

8 oz.

Dye

¼% to ½% 

1 to 2 fl oz. 

5 to 9 fl oz. 

8 to 16 fl oz. 

*All leaf-spray solutions are mixed in water.

Selective Control, No License

Sendero is gentle on grasses and most other plants that aren’t legumes like mesquite. Most plants valued by wildlife tolerate Sendero. Sendero does not require a pesticide applicator’s license. Spot applications are limited to 1.75 pints per acre per year.  

Start leaf spraying in the spring after soil temperatures at a depth of 12 to 18 inches reach 75 F. Mesquite leaves should have changed from the light pea green to a uniform dark green. The hand-spraying period lasts through July for East and South Texas and through September for West Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Wet all the foliage of each mesquite plant — don’t miss a branch — until the leaves are almost dripping. 

Backpack sprayers are efficient in dense mesquite. But for larger acreages and as distance between plants increases, a sprayer mounted on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility vehicle (UTV) becomes more efficient.

Make sure your spray gun has an adjustable-cone nozzle, such as a Cone jet 5500-X6 or X8, capable of delivering coarse spray (large droplets).

During a series of leaf-spraying trials by the Texas A&M University System shows that it pays to treat mesquite early and less dense (see Table 2). Using sprayers mounted on ATVs, workers hand-sprayed the foliage of mesquites from a few inches in height up to about 6 feet tall. The average was 2 to 3 feet in height. Costs increase with density and size of the mesquite, so treat early and follow up periodically.

The Texas A&M University System conducted a series of leaf-spraying trials (Table 2) on mesquites just a few inches in height up to about 6 feet tall with the average plant in the trials being 2 to 3 feet tall. Using sprayers mounted on ATVs, workers hand-sprayed the foliage. Costs increase with density and size of the mesquite, so treat early and follow up periodically.

The series of leaf-spraying trials showed that it pays to treat mesquite early and less dense as input costs increase with density and size of the mesquite.

Table 2. Hand-applied leaf-spray results

Site (Texas County)

Mesquite plants per acre

Acres treated

Total mesquites treated 

Total man hours used

Mesquites treated per man hour

Total spray volume used (gallons)

Total herbicide used (gallons)

Herbicide used per acre (pints)

Shackelford

25

82

            2,037 

20

102

136

1.36

0.13

Schleicher

169

16.8

            2,851 

13.8

206

100

1

0.48

Irion

211

20.4

            4,314 

17.1

252

100

1

0.39

Lampasas

334

12.1

            4,040 

15

265

100

1

0.66

Taylor

461

6.8

            3,128 

16.6

188

100

1

1.18

Source: Texas A&M University System, 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sendero® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions.

 

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