Enhancing Safety and Efficiency: Herbicide Use on Roadways


The Importance of Herbicide Applications

Vegetation management operations along roadways are essential for protecting infrastructure and providing safety for the traveling public. Trees and brush that encroach from the edge of the right-of-way can become hazardous. When this occurs, right-of-way reclamation projects are required to mitigate risks associated with the vegetation overgrowth. These operations are extremely labor-intensive and costly. However, these efforts can be reduced and/or maintained when herbicides are implemented into the overall vegetation management strategy. Applying herbicides can effectively control the growth of unwanted vegetation along roadsides, medians, and shoulders. This increases visibility for drivers and helps protect and prevent the obstruction of roadside assets and safety devices such as signs and guardrails.

Another important aspect of herbicide application is the reduction of maintenance costs. Mowing is always required as a general maintenance practice along roadsides. By preventing the growth of weeds and other unwanted vegetation, road crews can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on mechanical cutting. Herbicides provide a cost-effective solution for maintaining roadways by helping to reduce the need for constant maintenance. The reduction in mechanical operations decreases employee and contractor exposure to roadside hazards, reduces costs for departments of transportation, and ultimately saves taxpayer dollars.


Insight from an Industry Expert 

“Utilizing herbicides to control vegetation greatly helps reduce the manual labor for vegetation as well as reduces the number of cycles required by your employees and equipment to control vegetation growth,” explains American Eagle CEO, Shalana McNamee.

“This allows you to move those resources and complete other projects. The ability to send staff to mechanically cut one to two times per year, compared to four to eight times per year, is a cost savings and potentially something that may not be able to be done at all due to staffing shortages. As a former county public works director and current owner and CEO of a company that specializes in right-of-way vegetation control, I am a huge supporter of herbicide applications for vegetation control,” says Shalana.

“Herbicide use and applications are not only beneficial for public safety and offer a huge cost savings that allow you to stretch your budget further, but they also have a significant benefit of reducing reliance on employee labor and equipment. In a time where we are all facing labor and experienced staff shortages, it is paramount to utilize your resources the best you can.” 

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Implementing the Right Solution

There are various types of herbicides that are commonly used on roadways. Non-selective herbicides are designed to maintain a vegetation-free environment where all plant types are considered undesirable. These are typically used in areas where vegetative growth needs to be completely eliminated, such as unpaved shoulders, concrete medians, or along guardrails. Alligare's Mainline provides long-lasting results while offering vegetation managers a solution to protect desirable species that may lie adjacent to these vegetation-free zones.

Selective herbicides are designed to target specific types of vegetation while leaving desirable plants unharmed. These herbicides are most commonly used on roadway shoulders and right-of-way reclamation areas, where there is a need to control the growth of unwanted weeds without damaging desirable grasses. For broadleaf weeds, brush, and vines, Alligare's Whetstone is a low-use, broad-spectrum solution that offers pre- and post-emergent control of these undesirable species.

Some herbicides can also be used as plant growth regulators, (PGRs). Even desirable grass species can grow too quickly, and when used properly, PGRs can help vegetation managers achieve the goal of reducing mowing frequency and maintenance costs. These products are rate and species specific and include Alligare's Panoramic 2SL and MSM 60.

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While public and contractor safety is paramount, the additional efficiencies and cost-saving benefits herbicides can provide a roadway vegetation management plan cannot be ignored. Alligare’s portfolio of products helps you create safe environments free of weeds and aggressive vegetation in rights-of-way and transportation corridors. No matter the area you need free of unwanted weed species, Alligare’s knowledgeable and experienced team of Transportation & Energy specialists are ready to guide you through the challenge.   


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