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Cut-Stump Herbicide Wand

This home-made herbicide applicator wand was developed by Jack McGowan-Stinski (Michigan Field Office) as a way to dab herbicides directly onto cut stumps. Easily constructed, its design can be modified for your particular requirements. It costs about $20 to make (and is even cheaper if you already have PVC glue and purple primer).


The sponge-tip applicator stores herbicide in its PVC pipe chassis (marked A in Figure 1). A ball valve (B) is used to supply herbicide to the sponge reservoir (C). Herbicide in this small chamber leaks through a flow restricting drip plate (D), and moistens the applicator sponge (E). When the sponge reservoir is depleted of herbicide during use, a quick turn of the valve will recharge it. Rubber gaskets (rendered in grey in Figure 1) let the wand be refilled, or disassembled for cleaning.


The ball valve has the important function of keeping the main reservoir separate from the sponge reservoir. If the sponge is pulled out of the wand, only the herbicide in the sponge reservoir will be able to leak out. Furthermore, the flow restrictor ensures that this leakage would be at a dribble.

wand If you are interested in making one, you can download construction directions for the basic model from this page. The figures on this page may help clarify the instructions, too. If you have any suggestions on improving it, please let us know! Building instructions are available in three file formats
1)MS Word format (wandinst.rtf, for any version of Word)
2)Adobe acrobat format (wandinst.pdf)
3)html format (wandinst.html)

wand Wand variations
While constructing the wand, feel free to innovate and make your own variations to suit your application and parts availability. Just make sure your wand construction does not result in herbicide leakage. For example, wand-originator Jack McGowan-Stinski recommends a slight variation to the wand in which the main handle reservoir is made out of a tube with one female end and one male end (Figure 4). (If you cannot buy a threaded male cap, you may have to construct one out of a regular cap and a threaded male converter, as shown in that figure.) With this configuration, additional tube reservoirs can be stacked together for greater capacity, yet can be broken down for easy transport. If you do this, make sure you are careful when transporting herbicide-soiled PVC connectors to and from your site!

Test-drive a wand!
If you are TNC staff and want to try out a wand, contact me (Barry Rice) and I will send you one. You have to pay for shipping both ways (it will not be much, these are light). You can have it for up to a month. Return it in clean condition. Normal wear and tear from field use is understood.

--Barry Rice, TNC/GIST, May 2000; revised March 2001

Updated January 2005
©The Nature Conservancy, 2000