Managing vegetation around utility sites has a special set of challenges, especially when it involves hundreds of wind turbines in a remote mountain site.
For Kevin Brown, Kevin’s Custom Spraying, Touchet, Wash., those challenges include creating a firebreak around the base of each turbine and making it easier and safer for crews to access turbines.
“Our top priority is keeping a 12- to 15-foot bareground firebreak around the turbines and utility boxes,” Brown says. “We have lots of fires in this area and they can move pretty fast, which makes it extremely important to keep vegetation away from the equipment.
“Keeping a clean setting around the turbines also helps prevent workers from accidentally stepping on one of the area’s many rattlesnakes that hide among weeds. The bareground area also helps crews find dropped tools more easily versus searching for them in a patch of Russian thistles.”
Reining in Marestail
After noticing marestail patches getting out of control at the wind farm two years ago, Brown decided to add DuPontà¢â€ž- Perspective® herbicide to his bareground program.
“We applied 10 ounces of Perspective® and 2 pounds of Spike herbicide in the fall,” Brown says. “That combination has done a great job of controlling tough weeds like marestail and yellow starthistle. Before we used Perspective®, we weren’t getting adequate marestail control.”
Less Product to Handle; Fewer Escapes
Low product use rates are also important to Brown, who sends his crew into the Hatch Grade mountain region to treat the wind turbine sites.
“It’s not easy getting to these sites, so the least amount of herbicide and water we have to carry on the truck, the better,” Brown explains. “By adding Perspective® to our weed-control program, we’ve kept weeds under control with a fall application and eliminated costly, time-consuming return trips for retreatments the following summer.”
Fewer return trips to the mountain sites also add up to considerable fuel savings for Brown’s crews, which becomes even more significant as energy costs climb.
Selective Control Along Roadsides
Making it even more valuable as a go-to product for crews wanting to lighten the load, Perspective® can be used alone as a selective herbicide.
“We also take care of weed control along the roads throughout the wind farm. Since Perspective® controls broadleaf weeds without harming the grasses, we can use it along the roads and don’t have to carry several products to get the job done. That versatility is a real bonus with Perspective®.”
Author: Dan Zapotok is the industrial vegetation management portfolio manager for DuPont Crop Protection, where he is responsible for products within the IVM, railroad and forestry markets. Zapotok has worked with DuPont for more than 20 years, holding positions in operations, project management and marketing. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.