Spray truck wasn’t just watering the shoulder

The in basket: I spotted a county vehicle spraying the shoulder of Long Lake Road as it turned onto Woods Road the other day. It was a good sized pickup truck with a good sized tank mounted on it. My wife noted that the wording on the tank read, “Water Only.” It hadn’t sprayed anywhere else along Long Lake Road.

It seemed unlikely that they were watering the corner. I asked if there was a herbicide tank out of sight on the truck and how many such trucks the county has.

The out basket: Two smaller chemical tanks, actually, says Jacques Dean. county road superintendent. “The chemicals are injected into the water at specified proportions as the water passes through the pumps,” he said.

“We have two spray trucks that are set up the same and cover the entire unincorporated county,” he continued.

“Shoulder spraying must be done during dry weather and without wind.  As such, shoulder spraying typically begins in mid-March when we have a shot at dry weather.

“Most areas outside of road shoulders within county jurisdiction, such as the corner of Long Lake and Woods, are managed by mechanical means…in other words…they are mowed.  Mowing occurs all year, however, we will wait until later in the spring for those areas where we are encouraging native growth as a means to force out undesirable non-native, or invasive species.

“We typically spot spray, by hand, non-native and invasive species, unless there is a significant contiguous area of undesirable growth,” he said.

I know this can be a hot button issue for counties and others responsible for visibility on the roads. Kitsap has a Web site devoted to the issue of vegetation control than can be seen at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/pdf/2028_veg.pdf

An entire section is devoted to “Herbicides on County Rights of Way, a small portion of which says, “Employees who apply herbicides are trained to use the latest technology and application methods. Employees applying herbicides hold an application license and attend on–going training. We keep a complete record of all herbicide applied.”

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