In these tough economic times, the tree care industry is facing a puzzling reality: the decline of business from budget-conscious clients and a rise in infestations of new, invasive pests that threaten trees from municipalities to residential communities. Insects like mountain pine beetle, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) and ficus whitefly have devastated trees in several regions of the U.S. However, clients often do not consider tree removal costs and loss of property value when assessing the economics of treating infested trees.
Tree removal in urban settings can be very expensive. For the past several years, I have worked closely with several key arborists including Will Blozan (Appalachian Arborists, Asheville, NC) on control of hemlock woolly adelgid in North Carolina. Will has estimated that costs associated with removal of hemlock trees killed by HWA are 10 to 40 times greater than treatment of trees with a systemic insecticide. The same is true for many other invasive pests. Explaining this reality up front to your customers can give them a better understanding of the value in treating — and ultimately saving — a beloved, fully grown tree.
For many large trees, a soil or trunk applied systemic insecticide is the only viable option for saving the tree from an invasive pest. Unfortunately, many clients do not contact arborists until after trees are already severely infested. In these instances, a rapid acting product like dinotefuran is required. Dinotefuran, the active ingredient in Safari Insecticide, is taken up into trees within one to three weeks, and can reduce the likelihood that customers will be faced with the prospect of costly tree removal.
So when discussing tree care options with your clients, it is important to make sure they understand that left untreated, some pest infestations will result in expensive tree removal and loss of property value. By doing so, you can improve your business and at the same time help your clients save money in the long run.
Joe Chamberlin, Ph.D.
Field Development Manager - Southeast
Valent Professional Products