There are many options available to homeowners in their battle against tree insects and diseases. There is not just one way to treat pests. At The Tree Doctor we have refined our program over 15 years to constantly balance safety and effectiveness in our treatment programs. We use the safest pesticides that also provide the best possible outcome for our trees and shrubs.
As part of our program we use two techniques to help control risks associated with the use of pesticides: injections and reduced risk pesticides. These techniques, explained below, are sometimes the best option and sometimes the safest option. For some people who have pesticide sensitivity or who are just exceptionally cautious, these “reduced-risk” options may be the best solution.
What are Injections?
There are two kinds of injections; soil injections and trunk injections. Both injection types do not involve traditional “spraying” and keep pesticides out of human contact.
Soil Injection: Soil injections use hydraulic pressure to inject low risk pesticides into the ground. These pesticides are then absorbed by tree roots and dispersed throughout the tree canopy through its vascular system. The treatment is slow to become effective so soil injections should be done in the early spring to control for mid and late season pests. Treatments should be done in the fall to control for spring pests of the following season.
Trunk Injection: Trunk injections come in a variety of forms but all involve injecting a pesticide directly under the bark of the tree where it is then absorbed by the tree’s vascular system and spread throughout the canopy. Some injections involve drilling small holes into the trunk and then placing pressurized capsules into the holes. Other injections involve using a tool similar to a syringe. The sharp needle is pushed through the bark and then a plunger pushes the pesticide into the living portion of the tree under the bark.
What are Reduced Risk Pesticides?
Reduced Risk Pesticides, as defined by the EPA, are those commercially available products that are “viable alternatives to riskier conventional pesticides such as neurotoxins, carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants, and groundwater contaminants.”
What are the Advantages of Reduced Risk Pesticides Over Existing Conventional Pesticides?
According to the EPA reduced risk pesticides offer:
- Low impact on human health
- Lower toxicity to non-target organisms (birds, fish, plants)
- Low potential for groundwater contamination
- Low use rates
- Low pest resistance potential
- Compatibility with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices
What are the Disadvantages of Reduced Risk Pesticides?
- More frequent applications are needed to control pests
- Slower acting than conventional pesticides
- Less control on pest populations
- More expensive than conventional pesticides
- Fewer pests are controlled
As a client of The Tree Doctor you have a right to participate in your treatment program. You may choose to trust our judgment as to what is safe and effective or you may direct us to use only reduced risk pesticides and injection techniques. We call this our bio-rational approach to pest management. We want you to be as comfortable with our treatments as we are. Feel free to contact us with questions about customizing your insect and disease treatment program to fit your lifestyle.