Tree seedlings need extra care to thrive. Besides just extra water and food and protection from animals, tree seedlings also need to be shielded from herbicide sprays. Herbicide sprays can cause a tree seedling to yellow, wilt and possibly die. Fortunately, with a bit of preparation before you spray, you can protect and save your tree seedlings from any damage.
Apply herbicide on a day when the air is calm. If there is a breeze present, it should be blowing away from the tree seedling, not toward it.
Cover the trunk of the seedling. This will shield just the tree trunk if you are spraying the herbicide near the ground, rather than from overhead. Wrap the trunk in tube that is commercially sold for this purpose. Or, simply wrap the trunk temporarily with a blanket or sheet of plastic; use twine to tie it loosely to the trunk.
Protect the seedling with a bed sheet or light sheet of burlap. If the seedling is small enough, place a chair on top of it and lay the cover over top. Or, insert three stakes 1 to 2 feet taller than your seedling and lay the cover over the top.
Rinse your tree seedling with water if you inadvertently get herbicide on it. Water the leaves and trunk to wash off the herbicide as soon as possible.