Power Pellets Kill Invasive Trees

In the spring, when Ray Clay walks his quarter section of land in Reydon, Okla., he is on a mission to kill the invasive cedars that suck up valuable moisture in his pasture needed for grass to feed his cattle. He drops Power Pellets near the trees and brush he wants to eliminate.

Because seeds blow in from neighbor's fields, it's been an annual task since he started using the pellets in 2002.

"I saw it (Power Pellets) in a magazine, and I bought a bucket and went from there," Clay says. "If you get enough moisture, you see the effect in 6-8 weeks."

Rain breaks down the tablet and the active ingredient Hexazinone goes into the ground about 12 in. and is drawn into the tree/brush roots, causing it to die, says Bill Sander, president of Pro-Serve, Inc., a formulator of agricultural chemicals that makes Power Pellets. The company provides instructions depending on species regarding placement and how many pellets to use. For example, a 4-in. diameter cedar takes about six tablets dropped halfway between the trunk and canopy edge.

Clay has adapted the method for his situation.

"Our worst problem is we have a drought here so bad that the little bitty cedar roots need to go farther out to get water," Clay explains. He places the pellets up to 3 and 4-ft. away from the tree's drip line in order to be over the top of the roots.

Though the pellets remain effective up to six months, they should be applied in the spring when rainfall is most likely. Clay usually drops the pellets in April, the time of year for rain.

Power Pellets are recommended for mesquite, cedar, huisache, yucca, tallow and multiflora rose, but they also kill other hardwood and softwood species.

"They work on just about anything you want to put it on," Clay says. "It'll even get cottonwoods." Follow the recommended doses, he suggests, and if part of a bigger tree remains green, treat it again the following year. Clay also spray paints trees he has treated so he doesn't double treat them. With annual treatments, he's eliminating the biggest cedars and staying ahead of smaller ones that start.

At $350 per 5 1/2 lb. bucket (3,900 pellets), it's more affordable than hiring someone to run a skidsteer and cutter for $50-$60/hour, Clay says. He can also walk and drop the pellets on slopes and in wooded areas where skidsteers can't go.

He says he's never seen any ill effects on his cattle, wildlike or birds and has been pleased with the results.

The product is good, he says, and he likes the control he has with it. The only thing he can't control is Mother Nature to provide the rain.

Power pellets can be purchased from dealers throughout the country and smaller quantities are available. They are not intended for lawns or yards. Check the Pro-Serve website for information.

Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Pro-Serve, Inc., PO Box 161059, Memphis, TN 38109 (877-776-7375; www.pro-serveinc.com)