The Boss said we need an article on Basil Barking – never one to argue with the Boss I scratched my head and thought about it.
Basil Barking?? Oh well here’s a picture of my dog Basil, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth!
He’s actually a right pain in the arse as displayed here: https://youtu.be/7-dKKPbSvF8.
Anyway, it turns out what the Boss really wanted was lofty discourse on ‘Basal Barking’!
So; what is BASAL BARKING? It’s coating the bark at the base of the target tree or bush with a herbicide/diesel mixture with the intention of killing that plant.
Why would this method be used? It allows trees and bushes to be treated without other, time consuming activities such as drilling, cutting down or chopping. It is targeted, so correctly applied, there should be no by-kill of adjacent flora, though I do wonder about root graft transference of herbicide.
Garlon 600 (Triclopyr 600) or Access (Triclpyr/Picloram) are examples of herbicides used in this process.
Basal Bark and Cut Stump Treatment from label of a Triclopyr 600 product:
- Mix Triclopyr 600 in diesel. The use of diesel as a herbicide carrier may affect the rubber seals in some sprayers. To avoid this, use sprayers which use Viton seals and fittings.
- When using Triclopyr 600 with diesel, nitrile gloves should be worn instead of rubber gloves.
Basal Bark Method
- DO NOT apply to wet stems as this can repel the diesel mixture.
- Apply only with hand-directed equipment such as a pressure sprayer or a paint brush
- Spray equipment should be used at low pressures, up to 200 kPa, to avoid excessive splashing or drift
- Species with old, rough bark require more thorough wetting than smooth barked species.
- Liberally spray or paint the bark around the stem from ground level up to 30 cm high, wetting thoroughly to the point of runoff (unless otherwise stated)
The Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges NRM have a very good video of using basal bark methodology on feral olives here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-N_4qUVJ9w.
Basal bark ‘kill-Stick’ for delivering herbicide to small, thin, trees (unlike the user in the photo; wear gloves!).: https://prairienebraska.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/killstick-flyer.pdf
Googling around found ‘chatter’ about using biodiesel as it may be less objectionable than oil base diesel, but no definitive conclusion.
Consider other methods for dealing with woody weeds including:
- Drill & Fill tree injection; drill holes around trunk and fill with herbicide – typically glyphosate.
- Frilling, Chop & Fill – cut through bark with an axe, horizontally around trunk, and fill with herbicide – typically glyphosate.
- Cut-Stump Method for trees: Cut tree close to the ground and immediately wet the cut surface using spray, swab, or paint brush.Typically glyphosate or triclopyr.
As always, read ALL the label instructions for chemicals before mixing & using, and only mix-up what you’ll need.
So now I know what basal barking is and it’s nothing to do with my dog! I’ll consider using it, but probably will need a dedicated sprayer with the right, diesel proof, seals.