Monday, November 14, 2011

What Might Be Killing Our Trees ?

What do landscape pros talk about when they get together? This week at David J. Frank, we’re talking about tree-killing Imprelis herbicide...

Each week, staff members from David J. Frank's six branches and specialty divisions all meet to discuss the latest company and green industry news. This week, we received a special report from Nursery Manager Dave Grillaert. Dave has a degree in horticulture and environmental sciences, so when he talks, we listen ... and you should too.

This week we're talking about Imprelis ...

a DuPont-produced selective auxinic broadleaf herbicide that is proving to be even more damaging than initial reports indicated. Dave is quick to note this is NOT a product we have used here at David J. Frank, but we are feeling the repercussions and taking precautions on any sites where it may have been applied. Reportedly "gone rogue," Imprelis doesn't just poison dandelions, Creeping Charlie and other common weeds; it also attacks spruce and pines as well as firs, yews, arborvitae and some deciduous trees and shrubs in the vicinity of treated turf. And it's not just delicate young plants: mature trees – some up to 30 or 40 feet tall – are dying as Imprelis moves from turf to the soil around their roots. What's more, it is not yet known how long this herbicide remains active in the soil but experts have already advised against chipping affected trees for mulch because the residual toxicity in the dead wood may damage plants surrounded by the tainted chips.

The EPA, which approved Imprelis just over a year ago (October, 2010), has now banned further sales and use of this toxin but the damage has already been done in at least 22 states. Aggressively marketed as an environmentally friendly way to kill broadleaf weeds, Imprelis is even more aggressive in its attack on conifers (particularly Norway and Colorado spruce and white pines) as well as honey locust, poplar, willows and other deciduous trees that are dying after contact. DuPont claims the product had been through 400 trials before its release but the deadly impact on trees at homes, businesses, parks, golf courses and more is undeniable. A claim can be filed by calling DuPont at 866-796-4783 but the deadline is November 30, 2011 and requires documentation and photographic support.

We have certified arborists on staff who can easily recognize the symptoms of Imprelis damage, specifically browning and twisting of new growth followed by rapid dieback, and can remove and properly dispose of the ill-fated tree. For better lawn care options as well as professional tree services, trust David J. Frank Landscape Contracting. We welcome your questions about this and all your lawn and landscape needs.