Ryan Hadden s car drawing of a

Forest service green paint

This Tech Tip is a collection of helpful hints, information and ideas. SDTDC requested each Regional Representative on the National Tree Marking Paint Committee solicit their region for subjects to include in this publication.

Why use tracer paint? It's required! The Timber Cruising Handbook states: "Purchase only approved tracer paint through the normal procurement channels." Also, the prosecution of theft cases is jepordized if tracer paint is not used, or if tracer and non-tracer paint is mixed within the same area. Additionally, Forest Service Tree Marking Paint has been developed with health and safety as the number one priority; lead and other harmful compounds have been specifically excluded from the Tree Marking Paint formula.

To check for the presence of field tracer, put a drop or two of reagent on the paint and let the reagent sit for about 30 seconds. Use a white tissue to soak up the reagent. A red or pink color on the tissue is a positive indication of tracer in the paint.

Some false-negative indications have occurred using tracer reagent kits that have been in storage for long periods of time. Shaking the reagent bottle prior to use may solve the problem.

In 1991 the field tracer formulation was changed to the current system causing paint purchased prior to that year to give a false-negative indication if the reagent kit for the current formulation is used.

One manufacturer suggested carrying the cases of paint upside-down in the back of a pickup truck while driving to the marking site. Transporting the paint in this manner allows the solids that tend to settle to the bottom of the can to be stirred up by the motion of the truck as it travels over rough terrain. All lids must be tightly secured to prevent leakage.

Larry Mellstrom, Region 9 Representative, suggests that when transporting paint in vehicles that have enclosed cargo compartments such as Suburbans, Broncos, Cherokees, Vans, etc., store the paint and guns in an air-tight container such as the Rubbermaid Action Packer with sealing top as shown in Figure 1. These are inexpensive and are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and will contain the solvent vapors for safe transport.

Figure 1. Rubbermaid Tub with paint cans, guns, etc.

Use a good hand cleaner followed by soap and water to remove paint from your hands. `Scrubs' is one product that works well. Scrubs are towels that are pre-moistened with waterless hand cleaner and come in a plastic dispenser.

John Holmes, Region 9, suggests using a coating of Rainex on eyeglasses before using paint. Paint will not adhere to Rainex's protective film when used on the glasses. This product is available at most auto parts and supply stores. Another suggestion from Region 9 is to use Uvex polycarbonate goggles made for fire use. These goggles fit over most glasses, and Rainex can be used to protect the goggles as well. The Uvex goggles are inexpensive enough to be considered disposable should they get too much paint on them.

Having trouble spraying Type III paint? Check the orifice size on the nozzle tip of your marking gun. Use the 0.029 inch (0.7 mm) diameter orifice nozzle from either Nelson or Trecoder for Type III paint. Also, experiment using larger size nozzles. Start with a #66 drill (0.0330 inch/0.8 mm), test spray the gun and keep increasing the orifice size by one or two drill sizes until you get the best results. Keep in mind, however, that as you increase the size of the orifice, the velocity of the paint stream, and thus the effective range, will decrease.

Like most field work, there are some hazards associated with tree marking. When discussing hazards, it's important to be aware of the difference between hazard and risk as quoted by Jon W. Kindschy, instructor, Principles of Hazardous Materials Management, University of California Extension, Spring 1994.

  • "Hazard is an inherent property of a material or situation. The hazard potential of one gallon of gasoline, both in terms of flammability and toxicity, is the same whether the material is stored in an approved safety can or it is spilled across the garage floor. However, the risk of each condition is considerably different. Gasoline in the safety can poses less risk than the spilled gasoline because the probability of ignition or inhalation of fumes is far less than when the material is spilled. The broadest objective of hazardous materials management is to reduce risk. Can risk be reduced to zero? Yes, but only by eliminating the hazardous material from use. As long as the material is present, no matter how safely it is managed, risk is present. The management of risk employs preventative activities which reduce probability, mitigative activities which reduce the severity of the consequences, or both prevention and mitigation."
  • "Many forces contribute to society's inconsistent approach to risky situations or conditions. Human nature, media emphasis, and other factors cause public outrage at relatively low-risk conditions, yet higher-risk conditions are tolerated daily with little apparent concern. Publicity surrounding high-risk conditions relating to hazardous materials has contributed to a perception that any condition involving these materials is one of high-risk. We too often fail to differentiate between hazard and risk."

1 Refer to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) before using any paint or solvent.

2 Read the applicable Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) before starting work and review it at regular intervals.

3 When marking, work your way upwind as you mark so vapors are carried away from you as move along.

4 Spray efficiently; stand close enough to the tree so that more paint ends up on the tree and less is suspended in the air. Use common sense.

Source: www.fs.fed.us
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