Photo: PSU Extension
Newly approved and favoured by landscapers for its environmental friendliness, the herbicide Imprelis is suspected in the deaths of thousands of eastern white pines and Norway spruce trees.Imprelis is manufactured by DuPont and was approved for sale last October by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Intended to kill dandelion and clover, homeowners began complaining of the dead trees around Memorial Day, according to The New York Times.
For some landscapers, the die-off has been catastrophic. “It’s been devastating,” said Matt Coats, service manager for Underwood Nursery in Adrian, Mich. “We’ve made 1,000 applications and had 350 complaints of dead trees, and it’s climbing. I’ve done nothing for the last three weeks but deal with angry customers.”
No firm estimate exists on the extent of the tree die-off. But Bert Cregg, an associate professor of horticulture and forestry and an extension specialist with Michigan State University who has fielded many calls from landscapers and inspected affected trees, said the problem existed across the country. Many extension services have issued warnings, Dr. Cregg said. “This is going to be a large-scale problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of trees, if not more,” he said. Imprelis is used on athletic fields and cemeteries as well as on private lawns and golf courses, he noted.
DuPont will continue to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states save for California and New York, while the EPA investigates.
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