Lop and Treat Method

Lop and Treat Method

The lop and treat is used mostly for Tall goldenrod and Canada goldenrod mitigation. It’s a “lop” because we use the loppers rather than a “cut” where we use hand clippers. Lopping means we can cut more than one stem. It’s our definition and helps us communicate.

First you begin by lopping the blooms off the plants. (See photo on left)

Once the blooms are lopped, you spritz the cut stems. (See photo on right)


In clones as tight as this one (meaning there are no desired native plants inside the clone), you could give it a wider spray and save some time. We usually find desirable plants within so we focus on treating the cut end of each stem.

For carrying the spray bottle of herbicide, we’ve drilled holes in a coffee can and zip tie it to the belt that carries our hand clippers. This keeps the spray bottle in a convenient location, leaving our hands free to lop. It also contains the herbicide should the bottle leak.

Jim is lopping the blooms off the goldenrod

Jim lopping the blooms off the goldenrods

Jim herbiciding lopped goldenrod

Jim spritzing the cut stems of what he lopped off.

And a few weeks later, this is what you want to see. You can also see the 2 stems that were missed (in the middle and along the right side). This photo clearly illustrates 2 things: 1) the importance of overseeding and 2) why it’s critical to have a multi-year plan. If you don’t overseed, those missed stems will have no competition and they could spread freely. Those missed stems are also the reason why dormant-season disturbance following this treatment can result in open space for untreated stems to thrive. It’s unreasonable to think stems won’t be missed, so having a multi-year plan is key. 

Desired results of lop and treat