Are YOUR Evergreens OK?

This is a MUST read for every homeowner!  We all desire to have a weed-free lawn, but at what cost?  In the fall of last year, DuPont released a “miracle” herbicide, called Imprelis (aminocyclopyrachlor), which promised to control the toughest of weeds while leaving your turf unscathed.  In the spring of this year, widespread usage was underway. A few of the major lawn care companies in the Kansas City area began using this seemingly foolproof product.  Within a few weeks, complaints of tree damage began surfacing, the majority of these trees are now dead or are dying.  The product labeling was called into question by the E.P.A. and the product was banned on August 11th.  All remaining Imprelis was recalled, but unfortunately it was too late for many homeowners, their trees had already absorbed the herbicide via their root system.  In many cases, neighboring trees were affected or killed which suggests that this chemical does not stay put, but travels via run-off or other a fair distance from the application zone.

Since the ban, many class actions suits seeking restitution have been filed against DuPont.  The damages are expected to near the billion dollar mark, possibly more.  The claims may be submitted directly to DuPont, but you will be expected to “wait in line” and, of course, waive any and all rights to bring further action against them.  A deadline has been set by DuPont for submission of all claims.  They will not accept any claims postmarked later than November 30th, 2011. 

The general feeling is that this is going to be a time where a great deal of patience will be essential if you wish to emerge mentally intact.

Suburban Lawn & Garden chose NOT to purchase this product for use in their lawn care program.  In good faith, a few prominent companies in this area did opt to try this seemingly fantastic product.  The tree deaths are climbing and there are MANY trickle down effects, as well.  Most of you know that we also operate a recycling center which stocks all three of our stores with mulch and Summer Field Farms Compost.  Because of this, Suburban Lawn & Garden is no longer accepting yard waste from homes treated with Imprelis.  All other yard waste will continue to be accepted.

I am sure you are wondering how to spot the effects of Imprelis on your evergreens.  The following is a basic guideline along with images of damage on both White Pine and Norway Spruce (similar symptoms found on other Spruce trees).

The VISIBLE symptoms are (but are not limited to):

  •  Significant needle twisting and browning
  •  Terminal curling and drooping on new growth
  •  Needle browning and twisting on older growth (in some cases)

If any of your trees are exhibiting unfavorable symptoms, particularly those listed above AND you suspect herbicide damage (possibly indirect), DO NOT remove your trees.  It would be advised to take pictures and gather as much documentation as possible to support a claim.

For more information, visit my initial consumer alert and you might find some useful information on DuPont’s Imprelis FAQ page.  In addition, more information about DuPont’s strict claims process can be found here.