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New Lawn Herbicide Kills Weeds - Investigated For Also Damaging Trees

August 1, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Golf courses and homeowners in at least 22 states have reported their conifer trees turning brown this summer, and it appears a new broadleaf herbicide may be the culprit. Tom Creswell, director of the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, says Dupont's Imprelis herbicide is the common denominator.

"In June and late May, we started seeing symptoms of injury on conifers, particularly Norway spruce and white pine, showing up where Imprelis had been applied."

The laboratory's online guide indicates injury to trees can be dramatic, but trees can often recover over time. The guide says Norway spruce appears to be the species most susceptible to this herbicide, and the most likely to die.

Creswell suggests that people who have tree damage contact their lawn care professional to determine if Imprelis was used. Homeowners should get on the phone if they see tree damage, he adds.

"The first thing they should do is contact their lawn care operator and find out if Imprelis has in fact been used. If that's the case, the lawn care operator would probably want to come back out and take a look at the lawn."

Creswell says golf course operators and homeowners with tree damage have another good resource, too.

"If you live in Indiana, there's always the option of contacting the office of the Indiana State Chemist to ask for an investigation to begin about it."

Dupont's website says the company plans to have a toll-free number set up for Imprelis questions by Aug. 1.

Information is available from the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab, http://ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL, and the office of the Indiana State Chemist, http://www.isco.purdue.edu.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN