Imprelis Update

This week I got a phone call from Jack, a Tree Services reader in Wisconsin, who asked if I could provide some information on the ongoing Imprelis issue. Great idea Jack, here you go.

Just to recap, in October 2010 DuPont released a turf herbicide called Imprelis that was touted as an environmentally friendly treatment for turf weeds. The product was safe for humans and animals, and was readily taken up by plant roots, making it effective against wild violet and ground ivy. Unfortunately, it also affected non-target trees. Flash forward to June 2011: agencies and extension offices begin receiving reports of Imprelis-damaged trees from homeowners and landscapers throughout the northern U.S., from Michigan to Pennsylvania It was determined that Imprelis was the cause of the tree damage, and the EPA issued an immediate stop sale order for Imprelis on August 11, 2011. As of July 2012, DuPont has received more than 30,000 damage claims of Imprelis-related death and injury to hundreds of thousands of evergreen trees, particularly Norway spruce and white pine. DuPont has started to process claims, and hopes to have them completed by the fall. DuPont officials say that they have set aside $225 million for claims people have already submitted, and that the payout could eventually reach $575 million, not including costs related to a class-action lawsuit filed by thousands of homeowners, landscapers and others.

While, the paperwork and payouts might be wrapping up, the damage continues. Although the most commonly affected species are Norway spruce, Colorado blue spruce and eastern white pine, firs, yews, arborvitae and some deciduous trees and shrubs have been affected as well. And, some locations are reporting new symptoms in 2012 that were not observed in 2011. Trees previously known to be affected continue to decline, and most are unlikely to recover. Many professionals are also concerned about the long-term effects of Imprelis on the soil. Fortunately, soil tests conducted in June of this year show concentrations of Imprelis in affected areas are one-tenth the level of last spring. Before planting in Imprelis-affected areas, arborists are advised to look for evidence that the chemical is dissipating, such as new weed growth. For more information on Imprelis, visit

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Katie Meyers