From planning the year’s management program to responding to storm damage, utility managers and applicators are busy enough ensuring uninterrupted power without having to think about brush that reappears. If you’re not including strategic herbicide applications in your control program, you face the risk of tackling the same brush problems again.

An integrated vegetation management (IVM) program with appropriate herbicide applications can help you reduce operation costs and increase productivity. To ensure utility crews won’t face the same brush and weeds again, take plants out at the roots.

Curbing Outages

Archie Dickens, system right of way coordinator and ISA utility arborist for Coast Electric Power Association (CEPA) manages more than 13,000 acres of rights of way near the southern Mississippi coast. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, CEPA had not used herbicides in its management programs since the early 1990s.

After the 2005 hurricane, vegetation-related issues became the single leading cause of reported power outages in that region. Taking control of the situation, Dickens and his team began using herbicides in the organization’s IVM program in 2007 with low rates of DuPont™ Krenite® S brush control agent. After four years of including various herbicides in its program, the electric cooperative reported 63 percent fewer outages from vegetation-related issues, including encroachment on distribution lines.

In addition to increased productivity, Dickens helped CEPA reduce overall expenses and public complaints. “We have reduced our cost per mile for rights of way maintenance by almost 10 percent,” says Dickens. “As we became more aggressive in our spraying technique, rights of way began clearing up and complaints fell.”

Low-Use-Rate Advantages

A successful IVM program is essential for providing reliable power service, and newer herbicides have low use rates that boost productivity. DuPont™ Viewpoint® herbicide features both a low use rate and a dry-blended formulation that can significantly reduce inventory, hauling, tank mixing and waste disposal. Viewpoint® controls a broad range of difficult brush species. And since it is not a federally restricted-use herbicide, utility crews have more flexibility about where and when they apply Viewpoint®.

Incorporating herbicides into an IVM program can save crews time and reduce or eliminate the costs and pressures of repeated treatments to control regrowth. The result is reliable site maintenance and safe rights of way through effective brush control, while reducing costs and public concerns.