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New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Posted by dan_staley 5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 14, 11 at 18:44

I mentioned this on another forum the other day, but here it is on the Trees Forum:

New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths
By JIM ROBBINS
Published: July 14, 2011

A recently approved herbicide called Imprelis, widely used by landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly, has emerged as the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of Norway spruce, eastern white pine and other trees on lawns and golf courses across the country.

Manufactured by DuPont and approved for sale last October by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Imprelis is used for killing broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover and is sold to lawn care professionals only. Reports of dying trees started surfacing around Memorial Day, prompting an inquiry by DuPont scientists.

"We are investigating the reports of these unfavorable tree symptoms," said Kate Childress, a spokeswoman for DuPont. "Until this investigation is complete, it's difficult to say what variables contributed to the symptoms."

DuPont continues to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states except California and New York. The company said that there were many places where the product had been used without causing tree damage...

Lovely.

Dan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Did a quick google search and came up with the article below. One thing that concerns me, is that it's supposed to be more "environmentally friendly", but apparently survives composting. Doesn't sound like it breaks down at all quickly, and if that's the case, that doesn't sound "environmentally friendly" to me.

Arktrees

Here is a link that might be useful: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Ark, I think your link went awry. It is the same as the one Dan gave.

Thanks for bringing this up Dan. I hadn't really been keeping up with what a mess it has become, and, boy, what a mess it is. Some aspects of DuPont's handling of this remind me of the way BP addressed the oil spill. What a nightmare, and especially for the guys that really jumped on the Imprelis bandwagon wholeheartedly.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Nice stain too on EPA as their funding comes under threat from BigBiness.

Did an ecology camp today where we looked at bald eagles and tied in pesticides to their decline and what it took to bring them back. We never learn anything.

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

I liked "unfavorable tree symptoms" - and they wonder why no-one trusts them.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Guess they closed the hole that I must have gone through using Google. Sorry about that. It's an interesting read, and not a happy one.

Arktrees


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

We are looking at a similar situation with a different herbicide and live oaks here in Florida - many trees killed. It is a very interesting story as the manufacturer has sent staff here to try to prove otherwise. In this case, an employee also died from exposure to it. The situation with Imprelis is definitely a mess though.


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RE: Imprelis Suspected in Tree Deaths

This kind of makes you wonder, if their testing for the product's effects on trees is so lacking, what kind of confidence should one have in their testing for human health side-effects. I can completely understand when long-term side-effects (that weren't expected) crop up after years of use of some chemical, but this Imprelis situation looks like a complete lack of a reasonable amount of evaluation, from what I see. A problem this wide-spread that shows up so quickly shouldn't have been that hard to identify.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

you tree peeps are behind the curve as compared to the conifer peeps ... check out the link ...

BTW ... eagles are extending their population in MI .. and near to the point to be taken of threatened status ... check out this link:

http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2011/07/population_of_bald_eagles_in_m.html

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Not if another DDT comes along.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

My trees continue to get worse. Damage is progressing on previously damaged trees and new ones have started showing symptoms. Not just spruce and white pine either. I have spruce, blue spruce, stone pine, balsam fir, and arborvitaes all showing damage. I think it has also caused my lawn to be stressed out and some die back or dormancy. What a nightmare for my trees. I have had 2 arborists confirm the damage. The lawn service is saying they will replace trees, but my attempts at contacting dupont directly have all fallen on deaf ears. I have done a tv interview on a local station to try to get the word out. I fear some people will have trees die, and think it just normal attrition, and not relate it to their fertilization. I believe the lawn service did everything right, and was not applied onto any trees.......just herbicide take up from roots in grass area. The blame lies with dupont.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Yes, death is generally regarded as an "unfavorable symptom".

We just had an article in our local (central Ohio) newspaper this week on the damage attributed to Imprelis. Apparently local landscapers are steaming mad at DuPont for hanging them out to dry, as the company has allegedly blamed improper application for the tree damage and death. DuPont is also being noncommittal on whether they'll pay to replace trees (a statement about if they're responsible, they'll pay would have been helpful).

Great way to manage public relations, DuPont!

One thing I would fault landscapers/lawn services for is jumping on the bandwagon to use a new chemical so fast. Was it really necessary to make your customers guinea pigs for a brand new herbicide, or could you have waited to see how things worked out in the field?

I'm just glad that (apparently) none of my neighbors used this stuff, otherwise my trees would be in jeopardy.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

"One thing I would fault landscapers/lawn services for is jumping on the bandwagon to use a new chemical so fast."

I agree, but also understand the tendency for them to do so. A lot of them were asking for experiences and observations early on, but most seemed more interested in the product's effectiveness rather than its dangers. I guess they just assumed DuPont wouldn't put out something that was going to cause mass extinction (which is a reasonable assumption these days in most cases). With the competition in some areas, some lawn services probably felt pressured to quickly implement the use of this new "miracle product". I'll bet they don't jump on the next bandwagon nearly as hastily.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

So sad that our society spends so much money developing new chemicals that are destroying whole ecosystems for the sake of profit. Organic practices really aren't that much more expensive, and if companies devoted the same amount of resources to researching and developing organic solutions as they do to synthetically developed "death in a bottle" we would have a happier, healthier world to enjoy...


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Great way to manage public relations, DuPont!

Bhopal.

Dan


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"NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Labaton Sucharow LLP, along with its co-counsel The Miller Law Firm, P.C., filed a class action lawsuit on July 14, 2011 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The lawsuit, believed to be the first in the country to address these allegations, was filed on behalf of purchasers and users of DuPont's Imprelis� herbicide between October 4, 2010 through and including future date of trial. The action charges DuPont with consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence, product liability and damage to land under both Delaware and Michigan law."


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Wacogardener, I see no reason at all to use this case as proof that organic products are a better solution. Many "organic" products have proven very dangerous (much more so than many non-organic alternatives). This case is NOT an organics v. "man-made chemical" thing anyway; it's about the lack of sufficient research and the way the company is handling the problem. BTW, NO "organic" product can do what Imprelis was supposed to do, in the first place.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Here's yesterday's story on Imprelis in the New York Times.

We often hear complaints about overly stringent environmental regulation. With Imprelis, at least two states (California and New York) held up approval of this herbicide pending more complete evaluation. In this case, at any rate, businesses and homeowners have reason to be glad that approval was not sped through.

By the way, although organic herbicides are limited in what they can do, I've never heard of, say, corn gluten or vinegar killing mature trees.

If I had to choose between having creeping Charlie in my lawn or losing my shade trees, I know what alternative I'd pick.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

I'd vote for everyone here to go back to school and take some chemistry classes.

That way, you won't need attorneys, or pesticide manufacturers, or emotion-driven agendas for you to decide how to manage your landscape.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Well! Don't leave us in suspense, viburnumvalley, tell us how your knowledge of chemistry applies here.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

There you go, Eric - let the emotions take the wheel.

It isn't my knowledge of chemistry, it is chemistry.

Anyone can go do their own research on what the chemical makeup of this pesticide (or any other) is, and gain some understanding of what can, might, or will happen when applied.

OR - they can go on blind faith. That goes for synthetics as well as "organics".

Corn gluten and vinegar are not something someone can go out and pick up from Mother Nature, either. Humans developed them, too.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Ah. So homeowners should know chemistry before hiring a landscape contractor.

That'll kill that sector of the economy right quick. Maybe that's for the best. We need more unruly landscapes so the police can write nuisance tickets.

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

  • Posted by j0nd03 7 west/central AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 19, 11 at 9:17

"I'd vote for everyone here to go back to school and take some chemistry classes.

That way, you won't need attorneys, or pesticide manufacturers, or emotion-driven agendas for you to decide how to manage your landscape."

I fail to see how taking chem I and II, organic I and II, physical chemistry, quantitative analysis and all the other classes I took to get my degree could equip the average homeowner with enough knowledge to understand a herbicide in such a way that the DuPont chemists who created the solution could not. I took no plant biology whatsoever in my education. That might have helped me more now than any chemistry class I ever took. Maybe if had a double major in plant sciences and chemistry, maybe... not many people have a few years of their life to dedicate to understanding the intricacies of plant biochemistry after their career has begun.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

j0nd03,

Chem I and II, organic I and II, physical chemistry, and quantitative analysis only qualifies you to have a few small house plants. If you expect to own and maintain a yard, you'll need at least a doctorate in biochemistry and ten years of apprentice work under a world-renowned turf expert. Anything short of that just won't do. After all, the scientists and chemists at DuPont didn't fully understand their product, so you'll certainly be expected to know more than those guys!


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

After all, the scientists and chemists at DuPont didn't fully understand their product, so you'll certainly be expected to know more than those guys!

Likely there was a rush to market and not enough time for good trials. Don't blame them chemists.

Nonetheless, I stopped short of PChem but had all the botany series to get a hort degree. I wouldn't have done the stoich, nor asked DuPont for their notes, nor performed the trials on different genera even had I chosen to use that product. Even tho I know the EPA/FDA-type agencies are purposely understaffed and pressured to approve chemicals.

The implication above about 'own research' is laughable on its face. Srsly?

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Dan, you're missing the point and taking my comments too literally (-:


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  • Posted by j0nd03 7 west/central AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 19, 11 at 22:31

lol Brandon

I think we should leave VV alone. He/she is a good contributor to this forum. We have had our fun ;-)


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

VV's a he, and, believe me, a little kidding isn't going to hurt his feelings. He's rough and tough. At least with what I've seen him dish out, he ought to be rough and tough.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Dan, you're missing the point and taking my comments too literally (-:

Nah, I used them as a springboard for what I wanted to say.

;o)

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Here are some interesting comments/brief articles from the WSU Garden Professors blog on this topic (and implications) that may be of interest:

Imprelis Damage to Landscape Conifers by Bert Cregg - 6/27/11

Imprelis Update by Bert Cregg - 7/11/11

Spin Cycle by Bert Cregg - 7/18/11

The information about DuPont performing over 400 tests (no breakdown of what most of those tests were), "included independent university trials on spruces and pines at up to 4x the labeled rate", makes the situation all that much more interesting.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

DuPont and 400 tests blablabla is the same tactic the chemical industry used with Tyrone Hayes and Atrazine. But I do like the rapid response of the folks peddling snake plant oil to cure all your ills.

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Here's my two cents. Just STAY AWAY from all pesticides/herbicides. PERIOD. They have no place in an ecosystem. Research and practice natural alternatives where applicable if you must.

I can't believe anyone would even use an herbicide. Don't they realize what they're doing? I don't have to read ingredients or take any classes. The use of these things is just stupid, if you ask me. If people would stop buying and using this junk, this wouldn't happen.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

"Here's my two cents. Just STAY AWAY from all pesticides/herbicides. PERIOD."

IMHO, that is one of the most absurd positions I've ever read about the subject, and shows a true and total lack of understanding of the whole matter. Human life as we know it (at least in the civilized world) would not be possible if such an extreme position was implemented.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Dead and dying conifers ALL over Kansas City


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Are lawn care companies notifying customers. Not that I have heard. I talk to a few of my neighbors and they thought their trees were being affected by the heat here. One neighbor did not even have lawn care and they had Norways backing up to a neighbor who did have imprelis applied. Who is going to notify those people.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Who is going to notify those people.

Rhetorical question, right?

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Yes, I think some ethical questions are raised if a lawn care company does not notify customers of possible damage.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

This update spotted on another forum:

Here is a link that might be useful: Imprelis on its way out


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Wow! That news sure puts a different light on some of the previous comments they've made. Wonder what they know that they still haven't told us (sounds like plenty)? Or, are they just so sick of the whole mess that they are cutting their losses and trying to save what little reputation they have left. Kinda like a horticultural soap opera....


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Maybe they learned marketing from Bhopal.

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Anyone here remember the Benlate (benomyl) fiasco? That was another DuPont product.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Interesting articles about Benlate....

Here is a link that might be useful: Benlate Artilcles from Tampa Tribune - especially see the last one


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Totally forgot about Benlate. I wrote an undergrad term paper on corporate deception and cover-ups, and included that fiasco. Definitely a better correlate than Bhopal - good catch Rhizo.

Dan


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Yeah, but how much of what happened with Benlate was cover-up and how much was reasonable measures taken to defend against spurious and overzealous claims. I'm sure (and have seen proof that) there was some of both, but have no real handle on the relative amount of each. If the cover-up effort was as massive and malicious as some suggest, those guys are real bad dudes.


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RE: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

those guys are real bad dudes.

Bhopal.

Dan


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