July 22

Herbicide Risks for Landscapers and Arborists

Herbicides are sprays that are used to kill invasive species of plants, more commonly known as weeds. Different types of herbicides are used to get rid of certain types of weeds. Using the wrong type of herbicide in the wrong place can have detrimental effects on the plants that the landscaper wants to keep healthy.

However, sometimes things can happen that are totally out of the landscapers control. They use the spray in the right quantities and in the right situations, but damage is still done. The biggest and most recent example of this was caused by an herbicide made by Dupont called Imprelis. The herbicide has been linked to causing irreversible damage to many types of trees including:

  • Norway Spruce: A large evergreen coniferous tree. It is an important timber and ornamental tree native to Northern Europe and is used in reforestation both there and in North America.
  • Deodora Cedar: An excellent evergreen with graceful pendulous branches. They are tall trees with large trunks and massive, irregular heads of spreading heads.
  • Balsam Fir: A North American fir, a small to medium size evergreen tree 46-66 feet tall with a narrow conic crown.
  • Willow Trees: Graceful and refined, easily recognized by its open crown of ground-sweeping branches.
  • Conifer Trees: Conifers or softwoods are classed as gymnosperms or plants with naked seeds not enclosed in an ovary. They have needle leaves and pollen with bladders.
  • Poplar Trees: Any of several species of trees belonging to the willow family, containing 35 species of trees. They are native to North America and divided into three main groups, cottonwoods, aspens and poplars.
  • Eastern White Pine: A large pine native to eastern North America, also known as White Pine, Northern White Pine, Soft Pine and Weymouth Pine in the U.K.

Landscapers and property owners who have reported Imprelis tree death and damage are now faced with the prospect of spending thousands of dollars to replace dead or damaged trees. One landscaper told The New York Times that he had already spent $150,000 to replace customers’ trees that may have been damaged by Imprelis. The executive director of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association reported that one member was looking to replace 1,000 damaged trees.


Landscapers and Arborists who spray herbicide as part of their operations need to keep up on the sprays they’re using. The environmentally safe herbicide Imprelis turned out to not only kill weeds, but also did permanent damage to trees that landscapers were being held responsible to replace.

Keeping tabs on the sprays that a landscaping business is using can help to mitigate risk and avoid claims being made against the landscaping company. Not to mention, it will aid in keeping the company in a positive light with their customer base.

For more information, visit LandPro / TreePro.

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