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Karen Rockoff is the primary contact 
Jim is in the hospital & will take calls through Karen.

Karen Rockoff is the only certified arborist

Contact:  Cell: 830.955.0304
                     Karen Rockoff  Arborist  - TDA Certified

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Potassium Phosphite Application Protocol for S O D

Photos and illustrations - Copyright Chemjet Trading Pty,Ltd, Australia

This protocol is designed to give the applicator practical information for successfully applying VITAL® Potassium Phosphite, systemic fungicide to Oak and Tanoak trees for the treatment of Sudden Oak Death (SOD). Two application methods are currently available, CHEMJET® injection under the bark directly into the sapwood and a topical application of the product, VITAL®, mixed with *** Pentra-Bark™ surfactant, onto the trunk of the tree. Both methods have been found effective at controlling the growth of Phytophthora ramorum, the causal agent of the disease. Pentra Bark is not use in the injection process, thus eliminating exposure to this product.    *** Pentra-Bark can irritate the lungs and the skin as well as cause nausea and head aches.

The choice of application method is dependent upon a number of factors including safety, the equipment costs, volume of chemical used, and the cosmetic appearance of the tree, post treatment and consideration for the environment. Both treatments have been shown to be effective on oaks; only injections have been shown to be effective for tanoaks. In general, injection treatments require additional equipment in the form of Chemjet® syringe-type injectors that maintain a positive spring loaded pressure. The injections are made through multiple 11/64” or 4.2 mm, holes drilled approximately 4-6 inches around the trunk. But injections use significantly less product, usually about 10-80ml, to treat a tree. The trunk spray on the other hand can use a simple spray rig, is very quick, less environmental friendly, but does not target the pathogen as quickly as the injection into the tree. The spray method however requires considerably more product at a greater cost. The basal trunk spray application requires three to six weeks to translocate through the bark and to be assimilated by the plant before resistance to the pathogen is initiated. During that six months, the application product material on the trunk is being broken down before it is absorbed into the tree and is obvious not providing the tree, the full dosage amount intended. However, Potassium Phosphite is highly mobile once injected into the tree, due to the lack of one oxygen molecule. Furthermore, the spray application exposes drift to the atmosphere and will damage surrounding vegetation, including moss and lichens, which are beneficial to the tree and eco-system.


Plant protective fungicides, insecticides and nutrients applications has become an indispensable component of quality assurance in arboriculture, in which the control of insect pest, fungal and canker infections. CHEMJET®, microinjection targets the problem directly within the tree itself. This environmentally friendly-neutral direct application system eliminates drift losses of volatile dispersion into the atmosphere, soil contamination, wash and run off into adjacent water bodies. Eliminating contamination and protecting the environment is held to be an equally important goal. Control sanctions on chemicals, application methods of plant protection will become more severe in years to come. It is this new awareness for the environment, that will demand and dictate, the use of better chemicals and application methods in the treatment for trees.

Applications should be made when the tree is actively transpiring. Avoid treating trees during very hot or very cold weather, or when new leaves are emerging. Treatments applied during leaf expansion are generally seriously compromised due to the accumulation of the applied chemical in the leaves rather than in the tree trunk, where it is needed. Currently in northern California two applications per year is recommended, one treatment in November or December and a second treatment approximately six months later. Preventative treatment, before infection has occurred, has been found to be more effective than curative treatments. At least 4 weeks are necessary for the applied chemical to take full effect.

Phosphite Injections Treatments using Chemjet® Tree Injector Syringes


Systemic Fungicides for control of Diseases Caused by Phytophthora ramorum
VITAL® ............Potassium Phosphite....Active Ingredient....... 54.5%
Agri-Fos............Potassium Phosphite....Active Ingredient........45.8%

If using 20% phosphite - Dilute 1 part Phosphite with 4 parts water. If using 30% phosphite -
Dilute 1 part Phosphite with 2 parts water If using 40% phosphite - Dilute 1 part Phosphite
with 7 parts water If using 60% phosphite - Dilute 1 part Phosphite with 12 parts water

E.g. 30% solution … 11 oz Phosphite + 21 oz Water makes one quar. Use a good quality water source,
preferably spring or rain water.

The applicator should use their judgment to determine the best method for determining dose. For example,
multiple trunks or an asymmetrical crown may make it difficult to calculate the number of injections.
A rule of thumb, using the 20 mil per injector of a 20% solution place the injectors approx. 4 or 6 inches
apart around the trunk at waist high.

Wear gloves and safety glasses during preparation and application. Use Lysol® Kitchen Spray solution
to disinfect  your drill and syringes to prevent spread of the pathogen. Lysol® is a triple action microbial
disinfectant. A viricide, algaecide, and bactericide, also it is non corrosive to your tools.

Drill 4.2mm (11/64“) diameter hole into live sapwood or xylem between the bark furrows, to a depth of 1¼”
to  2". The hole should be drilled perpendicular to the tree trunk or at a very slight downward angle
and between the bark furrows. Insert injector firmly in the drill portal and unlock the red handle to inject
the treatment solution. Be sure to insert the Chemjet® injectors in each hole within seconds of drilling.
Run the bit in and out of the completed hole to clear out wood chips that may interfere with the injection.
Once the syringe is seated about 1/2 inch into the xylem or sap wood, unlock the red handle which will 
apply a constant spring pressure of 23 psi to get the desired flow. If weeping occurs, with the open palm
of your hand, apply a gentle, but firm nudge, to seat the syringe a little deeper in the sap wood. 
Place injections about 4 - 6 inches apart where there is a clear translocation path up the tree. On actively
transpiring trees the treatment solution will be absorbed in 5 to 45 minutes. If the injection fails to be
absorbed by the tree try cleaning out the hole with the drill bit or move to another site and drill a new hole.
Remove injectors after the treatment solution has been dispensed. Injection holes best left open as the
small drill holes will heal in a few short weeks when nature takes it's course.

Checklist for CHEMJET® injection treatments:

Vital ® Systemic Fungicide  Potassium Phosphite Water Lysol® Kitchen Spray ….disinfectant ..... It is non
Corrosive Liquid measuring devices, Plastic mixing containers, 2 1/2 gal bucket for carrying syringes, washing,
and disinfecting Rechargeable cordless drill 11/64 inch drill bit. Syringe-type tree injectors Chemjet®.
Examination Rubber gloves, and Safety glasses

Click on photos to enlarge. 

The Injectors are placed about knee high and approximately 5 inches apart on a slightly downward angle. On actively transpiring trees the treatment solution will be absorbed in 5 to 45 minutes. If the injection fails to be absorbed by the tree try cleaning out the hole with the drill bit or move to another site and drill a new hole. Do not over heat your drill bit as it could cuterize the wood tissue and uptake will fail

Basal Spray Treatments

1. Calculate the amount of treatment solution needed: 

The spray mix is applied from as high as possible down to ground level. Full sized, adult oak trees may require between 500ml and a liter of spray mix per tree.

2. Prepare the product as per the label and pour mixture into spray tank:

1.9 L Vital® + 1.9L water + 95ml Pentra-Bark surfactant equals 62.4oz Vital® + 62.4oz water + 3.2oz Pentra-Bark™ surfactant.

Wear gloves and safety glasses during preparation and application. A plastic face shield and long sleeves may be worn during application as the mixture is slightly irritating to the skin. A variety of spray applicators may be used including hydraulic sprayers, hand pumped sprayers, and backpack sprayers. The spray mixture will foam if shaken or agitated. Use of a spray tank dedicated to Vital® with Pentra-Bark™ application will allow you to mix the solution directly in the tank and avoid some of the foaming.

3. Apply the treatment solution to the tree trunk:

 Treatment is generally effective if it is applied uniformly from 3-4m (9-12feet) height (or as high as you can without spraying the foliage) down to the ground level. Soak the tree trunk thoroughly until the spray treatment solution just starts to run off at the base of the tree. Pay special attention to fissures and cracks, etc in the bark. Multiple or spit trunks should be thoroughly treated, just as the main trunk. Rain or moisture does not appear to affect the application of Vital® with Pentra-Bark™ surfactant, but applications should be made when the tree is actively transpiring (see Injection Treatments). Use caution and watch your overspray! Application of Vital® with Pentra-Bark™ (See Caution) to foliage will cause significant damage to the leaves of most plants, including oaks, tanoaks, rhododendrons, moss, lichen, etc.

Caution:   Potassium Phosphite is relatively benign, but the Pentra-Bark compound it is typically mixed with, can irritate the lungs and the skin as well as cause nausea and head aches.  Avoid "over spray" and heed the manufacturers instructions on wearing protective equipment. 

Additionally, there are certain risks involved with a spray program that micro-injection users do not have. One of the major concerns for customers is the collateral environmental damage to plants, animals, and beneficial insects, on or near the plant site. The reason a spray program is so effective, is because it kills practically all critters. Unfortunately this includes baby birds, fish in nearby ponds, and beneficial insects that happen to be feeding at the time of treatment. Micro-injection only kills pests that are actively feeding on or in the plant. To the environmentally conscious customer, this is an important selling point.

It is also important to note that any time you spray, it is estimated that about 93% of the material is lost in evaporation, dripping, and drift, so most of the material is wasted. With all that wasted material floating around, there is a tremendous legal liability for chemical trespass. Then there is the problem of mixing the toxic chemicals. This is the area of largest concern and greatest exposure to the technician. In some of the worst cases the wrong materials are being applied.
Applying the ( Potassium Phosphite ) Agri-Fos/Pentra-Bark, for treatment to the bark makes the treatment available to the tree for more than six months. "Once applied, it doesn't rub off,"  The basal trunk spray application requires three to six weeks to translocate through the bark and to be assimilated by the plant before resistance to the pathogen is initiated. During that six months, the application product materials on the trunk are being broken down before it is absorbed into the tree and is obvious not providing the tree, the full protection nor dosage amount intended. It is my understanding that, we are trying to control a pathogen that takes a tree down very quickly.

Checklist for basal spray application:

VITAL® systemic fungicide Pentra-Bark surfactant Water Liquid measuring devices Plastic mixing containers,  Spray equipment, hydraulic, pump-up type, or backpack mounted. Examination Rubber gloves. Safety glasses or face shield

A personal note 

I believe, I have fairly described two methods of application for the treatment for SOD. My personal choice is the Chemjet® Syringe. As an Arborist, with over thirty years experience, First and foremost, is the importance of protecting the environment, as like many of my colleagues in the business of treating trees.  

Microinjection, a technique for injecting fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals directly into trees, is often the safest, most effective and quickest way to deal with pest infestation and disease. Many tree-care specialists believe microinjection could be the only way to save trees from nutrient deficiency, the fungal infection and destruictive insects. It has become a popular means of treating trees because, it achieves a level of control that is not possible with sprays, and basil applications especially on larger trees. In recent years, we all have worked directly with the chemical providers to produce better and saver chemicals. At the same time policing ourselves to apply better application methods of caring for the very trees, we are trying to save and the most important goal is protect the environment.

Microinjection is a safe and environmentally friendly method for applying chemicals to trees. Because the chemical is contained entirely within the injection system and the tree, you no longer are limited by the weather conditions that affect the application. Applying chemicals this way reduces or eliminates hazards for birds, and other wildlife. In fact, microinjection can target the fungal pathogen or insect pests  directly within the tree without harming other beneficial insects. There is no spray drift to think about and much lower risk of a chemical spill. And it’s cheaper than conventional spraying.

The Chemjet® microinjection  is user friendly, is an on hands technique,  you’ll learn by doing. The start up cost is your chemical products and the Chemjet® syringes, which are reusable a thousand times plus with careful handling. There are not a lot of tools required, a cordless drill, 11/64 drill bit, a wood chisel and a bucket with your chemjet syringes. 

The dirill holes of course will cause tempory minor damage. However, research has shown that, the drill portals, due to the small size, the trees will compartmentalize the injured tissue. The holes will fill up with callus tissue, in a short few weeks, so permanent damage to the tree is avoided.

VITAL® label:

Information about : VITAL® Potassium Phosphite: K2 HPO3 - Energizer Nutrient / Systemic Fungicide

How "CHEMJET® " Tree Injector  Works:
Also See:

The Chemjet® Injection Syringe is a registered trademarks of Chemjet® Trading Pty, Australia.

Mention of commercial chemical products does not constitute endorsement by Scenic Hills Nursery.  Always follow the manufacturer’s directions, restrictions, and precautions on the product label

Photos and illustrations - Copyright Chemjet Trading Pty,Ltd, Australia



California Oak Mortality Task Force:
Forest Pathology and Mycology Labratory:

Science-based outreach helps stem sudden oakdeath:
INJECTION PROTECTION - Treatments for sudden oak death
University of California  - California Agriculture:
Science Based Outreach helps stem sudden oak death:
Phosphite Controls Sudden Oak Death pathogen for two Years:

Disclaimer: This article may contain pesticide recommendations that are subject to change at any time. These recommendations are provided only as a guide. It is always the pesticide applicator’s responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used. If any information in these recommendations disagrees with the label, the recommendation must be disregarded. No endorsement is intended for products mentioned, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The Writer assumes no liability resulting from the use of these recommendations. The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.   

Scenic Hills Nuirserry - WARRANTY DISCLAIMER :

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Karen Rockoff
Contact:  Cell: 830.955.0304
                     Karen Rockoff  Arborist  - TDA Certified


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