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Beating back brush on county highways might cost less if a trial run at spraying problem areas proves effective.
The Anderson County Fiscal Court voted unanimously last Tuesday night to hire a company to spray trees along 50 miles of county roads in an effort to reduce costs.
Magistrates approved spending $5,000 with a company called Natur Chem to reduce the amount of labor required to keep branches from hanging over county roads.
The roads to be sprayed have yet to be determined, but Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway said it will likely be those that connect the county’s main arteries, such as US 62 and Highway 44.
“I’m going to sit down with [the county road foreman] and determine that,” said Conway.
Conway said the spraying will not be used to replace roadside mowing.
“This is for the limbs that grow out into the road,” he said. “We’re going to have them sprayed to the height of school bus mirrors.”
Conway said the Natur Chem guarantees that the limbs won’t grow back for three years. If true, he said it will save money and that the program might then be expanded.
“It costs more than $50 a mile to cut back limbs when you have two employees and diesel fuel for a tractor and a truck,” he said, adding that the chemicals being sprayed are permitted.
He said the spraying will be done in the fall.
“That’s when the leaves start turning brown and it won’t be as noticeable,” he said, adding that only the portion of the trees that are sprayed will be affected.
“It doesn’t kill the tree itself, just the limbs coming out. The rest of the tree stays OK.”