County herbicides increase slightly

Prices for herbicides used to kill weeds along county roadways and open ditches have seen little increase since last year.

“It’s one of the few items that have stabilized, where we have seen no large increase,” Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart said.

Bids recently accepted for the herbicides were for $299.73 a gallon for Milestone from Red River, Arborchem and CWC. It marked an increase of 27 cents from 2011.

Reinhart said with all three companies submitting the same bid to the penny, other factors come in to play. The specifications included a clause requiring companies to provide free training if needed.

At $14.80 a gallon, Red River submitted the low bid for 2-4D AM 40. It is an increase of $1.44 from 2011. Arborchem submitted a bid for $16.99 and CWC for $17.95.

The low bid for Escort XP at $7.25 an ounce from Arborchem was lower than last year’s bid of $7.49 by Red River. Also submitting bids were Red River, who dropped its bid by a cent from last year, and CWC at $8.95.

Red River submitted the low bid for Surfactant at $11.30 per gallon, which is a 33 cent increase from 2011. Also submitting bids were Arborchem at $12.50 a gallon and CWC at $12.58 a gallon.

The bids are to be used at the discretion of the county engineer in the best interest of the county throughout the season.

“We’re going to do what is most cost effective,” Reinhart said.

County crews plan to start spraying guardrails next week and hope to be done with the applications throughout the county by the first week of June, weather permitting.

Reinhart said when it is time to spray drainage ditches they work from daylight to dark six days a week to get them done when they can because of the short window of time to do the spraying.

The herbicides are aimed at noxious weeds including carrot top, thistles and chicory, which if left untreated would choke out the grass.

“We do not spray yards or anywhere people mow and maintain ditches outside of their homes,” Reinhart said. “We treat those areas not taken care of.”

Despite  the state requiring just county engineers be licensed to spray for weeds, 20 Auglaize County employees are licensed through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The herbicides are used to treat not only the county road system but also roads in 10 of the 14 townships, along with 180 miles of open drainage ditches and guardrails around the county’s 375 bridges to maintain visibility.

Reinhart said the herbicides used are labeled for aquatic use and contain the same type of chemicals as what a lawn company would use without the chemicals used to keep the grass green.

He remarked that beginning last fall they also tried a different time to apply herbicides, spraying after the first frost and had great results.

“We’ve done it the same way for 30-some years, but after the first frost weeds will take in anything and everything they can before they hibernate for winter,” Reinhart said. “A fall application goes deep into their roots.”