Illegal vegetation cutting and spraying

​Illegal cutting

Although the department has the authority to maintain vegetation along state trunk highways, it is illegal for the public to cut vegetation, remove plants or plant parts, or injure trees along the right of way under SS. 66.1037(1) and SS. 86.03(4) through (7), Stats.

Anyone wishing to perform vegetation management work on the right of way must possess a valid Application/Permit to Work on the Right of Way from the department. Anyone removing or in any way damaging vegetation on the right of way without a permit is engaging in unauthorized activity.

Damage claims

Unauthorized cutting or trimming or accidental destruction is regarded by the department as damage to public property and, if the person(s) who did the damage can be identified and apprehended, reimbursement for the damage done will be pursued based on SS. 26.05 Stats., timber theft.

Illegal spraying

Herbicides must be used properly and safely. Herbicides must be applied by either county forces or by a certified and licensed applicator. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) oversee the regulation of herbicide certification and licensing. 

The proper certification for application on State right of way is the commercial certification category "right of way and natural area." More information regarding pesticide certification and licensing.

Damage claims

The department is not responsible for damages to crops or other claims from adjacent property owners when herbicides are applied to state trunk highway rights of way in accordance with the labeling and applicable laws and regulations. If claims are brought against the department, refer the complainant to the organization that applied the herbicide (i.e. the private contractor or the county highway department).

Highway Maintenance Manual (HMM)

07-10-30 - Unauthorized Vegetation Damage or Destruction

07-10-35 - Vegetation Damage Claims

07-05-15 - Use of Herbicides Herbaceous Vegetation

07-10-05 - Use of Herbicides Woody Vegetation