In some instances, weeds and brush can be suppressed or controlled with non-herbicide treatments or used in addition to chemicals. Site preparation treatments such as machine scarification, slash piling, or prescribed burning can eliminate or temporarily suppress brush and weeds and set up conditions that allow for more conservative use of herbicides later in the life of a plantation.
Hand cutting of most trees and shrubs usually results in resprouting from the stump, but cutting at the ground line from mid-June to mid-August may reduce vigor of resprouts. Larger alder stems (greater than about 2 inches) and larger Scotch broom cut near the ground line in summer can nearly eliminate resprouting. Treating freshly cut stumps with a cambial application of a herbicide may allow the use of less chemical than broadcast foliar applications and provide better control on some species.
Controlling grasses and other herbaceous weeds is more difficult without herbicides. Scalping of sod or weeds around seedlings needs to be done in a large area and is often temporary but can give some initial reduction in competition. When used in combination with a herbicide spots can remain weed free for at least one season.
Laminated or fiber reinforced paper or similar mulch material can be effective at reducing competition if done correctly. This method has had some success comparable to that of grass herbicides. Mulch material should be at least 9 sq ft (3 ft x 3 ft). Mulch must be well weighted on all four corners, or pinned to the ground. Slash may need to be removed before installation to ensure good contact with the ground.