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Crush & Spray-New Invention for Field Prep in Tree Plantations Is More Efficient and Cleaner

Rhinelander, WI, December 14, 2006 - Adam Wiese, a forestry technician at the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station laboratory in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, can now add “inventor” to his list of accomplishments.  Tired of watching his herbicide applications fall short of the desired results, he and his co-workers/co-inventors created a simple device that would first crush the weeds to the ground and then spray them with herbicide through high-pressure nozzles. By using this machine, they found that, even in overgrown fields, they could increase weed control by 15% when compared to traditional weed control methods.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued their patent for “Combination Foliage Compaction and Treatment Method and Apparatus" by Wiese, Dan Netzer, and Don Riemenschneider on October 17, 2006. Wiese will be working with the Forest Service’s patent advisor to market the invention.

The patent promises to increase the efficiency of field preparation for controlling weeds. During the outplanting of tree and shrub seedlings for wildland restoration and plantation establishment, herbicides are often used to “prepare” an overgrown field or to “release” seedlings from competition. By crushing weeds with an adjustable, heavy roller and placing the spray nozzle close to the ground, the applicator is able to achieve precise weed control, thus improving growth and maximizing yields while using very little herbicide to treat the target plants.  In addition to use in field preparation for out-planting tree seedlings, the “crush & spray”  machine can be used for weed control in power-line rights-of-way, wildlife food plots, vineyards, crop rows, tree farms, seed orchards, and invasive plant removal and wildland restoration projects.  Use of this invention provides both economic and environmental benefits, with major applications in large-scale fiber and bioenergy plantations.

The Forest Service is actively looking for licensees for this patent. If you are interested, please see www.ars.usda.gov/business — particularly “Licensing Information” or call Janet Stockhausen, US Forest Service patent advisor, at 608-231-9502.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.

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Last modified: December 14, 2006