Monday, January 14, 2013

Don’t Spray! Spread Seed

Speech to the Josephine County Commissioners, 3/23/2011. 

I apologize for missing last night’s Town Hall on spraying selective herbicides by helicopter on Perpetua’s forest land near Lake Selmac; I tuned in after Jeopardy.  But I have been thinking about solutions to the problem. 
As a college-educated gardener who keeps up on the latest in Science News, I have grave concerns about using selective herbicides at all, much less spraying them by helicopter.  Unlike glyphosate, AKA Roundup, selective herbicides have been shown to affect development in the egg and possibly contribute to cancer in people and animals.  Moreover, the nearly monocultural forest that results from killing off broadleaf trees and shrubs that might compete with conifers is not healthy for animals or trees, with less food for animals and more disease threat to trees.
Perpetua believes that they have to spray toxic herbicides because they’ve planted tiny little trees that can’t compete with seed-started plants.  A seed-started tree can easily out-grow a start several years older because its roots are never disturbed or distorted by transplanting.  I have some experience with small starts; one is lucky to get 50% of them to survive the first year even where they are irrigated and cared for; they need a year of recovery before they even start to grow.
Seed-planted trees grow without a lot of help; they are some of the worst weeds I deal with.  Incense cedar has been tree weed of the year the last two years in a row, but at least they are easy to pull for several years.  Madrones grow much quicker than conifers; oaks not so fast.  But both are outgrown by conifers after a few years, from what I can tell. 
Rather than alarming the neighbours by spraying toxic chemicals by helicopter, and quite possibly killing the rose farm next door and harming Lake Selmac, Perpetua ought to spend that money on conifer seed and spread it over the acreage.  Let the little starts live or die, but provide insurance in the form of younger and stronger trees which sprout where they will grow, and therefore grow strong.
In this matter, Perpetua is putting their profits ahead of loving their neighbours, doing what they might hesitate to do if they lived next door, using fear of the feds as an excuse.  The federal government cannot mandate that trees grow at any particular rate; that is up to Mother Nature.  To preserve both their profits and their neighbours’ peace of mind, Perpetua should work with nature instead of fighting it, and broadcast seed.  This Board should request an injunction to get Perpetua to think about alternatives.

Published at Yahoo Voices.

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