"The other good thing about evergreen trees is that they don't lose their leaves," said Hall. "So when farmers first apply pesticides in the early spring, evergreen foliage would already be there to help collect the spray and reduce off-site movement of pesticides."
Next, Hall and his colleagues want to expand their studies of potentially useful windbreak species. They will also construct a longer windtunnel so they can gauge the performance of plant species and non-target organisms under an extended range of environmental conditions.
The researchers recommend that the government create a task force to review windbreaks as a viable pesticide drift mitigation strategy for the United States.
"Globally, there are only about five or six sites that have collected information on pesticides and windbreaks, and they're not linked in any way," said Hall. "So, our final conclusion was that we ought to bring various agencies together to discuss these research findings."
"The opportunities to link the buffer zone and water quality initiatives -- as well as the stewardship programs in the EPA and USDA -- towards a common environmental goal seems enormous," continued Hall. "But it is a multidisciplinary approach and will require some good task force planning to optimize our scarce resources."