Researchers and tree professional continue to investigate the use of systemic fungicides, insecticides and nutrients in an attempt to provide safe, long lasting protection against tree diseases in-order to provide better health and care for our majestic oak trees here in the Hill Country. Oak Wilt has become one of the biggest killers of our live oaks here in the Texas Hill Country, now present in more than 77 counties. While there are several injectable fungicides labeled for the control of oak wilt, many researchers and professional applicators agree that Propiconazole 14.3% MEC. formulation has proven effective for the suppression of infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees.
Click on photo to enlarge Photos Copyright Scenic Hills Nursery
MACRO INJECTION .... " Drill'em and Kill'em - Method "
It may be the oldest method of injection, but it is certainly not the BEST!
Trunk Stem Injection / Infusion
More than 40 years of suppressed research !
Trunk stem injection / infusion was the first injection method used, probably because it was convenient for the applicator. It was found to be problematic in Dutch Elm Disease because injection ports were deep, ( penetrating several growth layers or sap wood ), uptake was not guaranteed and the ideal sink was often missed. Injection ports were later developed and applied a shallow-pit trunk injection technique in which fungicides were pressure injected into very shallow drill injection ports of the three outer most growth rings. This technique found high comparability in the translocation uptake relative to root flare injection method as water movement is very rapid up the trunk stem which, moves at the rate of 92 feet per hour.
Although wound closure of the shallow portals that are drilled in the trunk stem 4.5 ft above the soil level was relatively quick within 6-8 weeks. However, clients often objected to the visible, large, open injection ports which were 1/2 in diameter placed 3-5 inches around the trunk stem. Thus, it was concluded that the next best injection site would be the root flares 4-5 inches below soil level which, indeed, has become the chosen technique and standard site for tree injection. This was ideal, as it quelled the client from any further objection since the damage was no longer visible and also the extent of damage was totally out of sight as well. It was not important to research the uptake, the damage factor nor the effects of microorganisms, pathogenic infections and eventual decay at the injection sites, as it's only purpose was to appease the objections from the customer.
The drill port !
O This is what a 1//2" hole looks like, imagine these gapping holes all around the trunk stem. It was sure best to hide something like that, all for the benefit of science! !
There you have it, the real facts were stalemated to cover up the lack of research, a sort of cook the books situation. Would it not have been better to just have the injector tees made smaller to reduce the unsightly damage in order to maintain the integrity of the trunk stem micro-injection research ? The real research was suppressed for 40 plus years with, a don't tell, don't explain and see no evil policy so that, the root flare MACRO-INJECTION would appear to be the result of indepth research. No further explanation was necessary. Political agenda and VERY - VERY Shanky Science?
For the past 60 plus years, ( See The 4 Photos Below ) tree injection has been a hodge podge home made fix it with what ever comes to mind. The equipment back then was even more outrageous, 55 gal barrels, 5 gal plastic jugs and anything that might fit the bill and even douche bags, tied up in the tree on a gravity flow system.
Macro injection as it is referred to is totally without any intelligent research and is based on some pretty shaky science. However, no matter what the scientific facts are, the myth of Macro Injection will likely survive for another 55 years here in TEXAS. Not too much scientific research applied here.
To day with the garden pump up sprayer, a harness system of tees as described below is an antiquated fixit all together method or what ever you call it, that Texas A & M University supposedly researched was sanction to treat Oak Wilt. Well they never researched it at all. It was inherited from the Elm Research Institute and entirely with the cover-up to appease the customers objections of the unsightly and shoddy injection sites in the trunk stem.
The macro- injection setup consisted of 3/8 dia. PVC tubing to be cut into 12" lengths and connected to multiple plastic injection tees, (referred to as a harness). It evolved as a learn as you go, hodge podge designed by various applicators back in the 50's and 60's. The original tee design was with a 1/2 in. tapered nozzle that would provide a water tight seal into the sap wood. this larger size tee would allow a greater volume of fluid uptake with little consideration to the excessive and very invasive damage. The tees were spaced 5-6 inches apart on the exposed root flares. Later in the mid 80's, that was modified to a 5/16 inch size tee and spacing to 4-6" apart, toting the fact that the reduced size of the drill port would also greatly reduce tree wounding, faster wound repair and provide better distribution. In the most recent years Texas A & M have decided that spacing should be 3 inches apart and expose the root flared 3 times the trunk diameter.
Lets See Just What That Means
To treat a 24" diameter tree, 4-6 inches of soil must be removed in-order to expose the root flares. Texas A & M 's new recommendation of spacing of 3 inches apart and expose the root flares 3 times the trunk diameter to provide sufficient area to place the 72 injection sites 5/16" dia. every 3" apart around the base of the tree. The harness and tees are then inserted into the multiple pre-drilled portals 3/4 ” - 1" depth ( the present rule is, multiply the diameter time 3 for the total number of drill holes ). The 75 foot long harness is connected to an air pressurized reservoir ( The Garden Pump Up Sprayer ) containing the prescribed amount of 240 mils of fungicide and 24 liters of water for the preventive dosage rate, 480 mils for the Therapeutic or phytotoxicity dosage rate. A word of caution here, often times a tree will not absorb the total amount of fluid, leaving as much as 1/3 to 1/2 of the fluid in the canisters. Once the system is connected to the tree, the valve is opened and the fluid completely fills the lines forcing out the air from the lines. The valve is closed and the lines are joined to complete a closed plumbing circuit. The valve is turned on and the chemical and water are gently forced into the tree at approximately 22 psi. When the tank
and lines are empty, or the uptake has just plain stopped, remove the equipment and back fill the dirt over the root flares to cover up all that dirty work and damage. Job done time: 1 hour, 30 min, maybe 2 hours, the manual labor way. With so many drill portals and the interconected harness, you will never know what persentage of the holes are defective or are absorbing the fungicide. Could be 10-20 percent of defective drill holes, no one know or really cares for that matter. The Idea here is ... Let's keep it complicated and expensive and we can hide the excessive damage from the now poor homeowner who is confident that the macro method is the most effective way to treat his trees and be damned with the research that proved that trunk stem injection was far more effective.
Think about this now, you have just filled up 72 drill holes with dirt and debris....... exposing your valuable tree to more soil borne pathogenic and microbial infections in five minutes than the tree has experienced in it's entire 250 years of life... One year, two years or three years later many of these wounds have never healed and are still weeping. Microbial and canker infections have invaded the three outer sap wood rings, destroyed the surrounding cambium tissue, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients to the upper canopy and manufactured food back to the roots for growth and storage. Your tree is getting sick and is dieing slowly. It looked fine all winter but, the leaves just didn't come back this spring. Was it oak wilt? Or was it the result of excessive damage, exposure to soil borne pathogenic and canker infection? Lets blame it on OAK WILT for lack of a better answer.
In the early 90's the dosage rates were 2 and 3 mils of propiconazole per diameter inch respectively for preventive and therapeutic treatment and the placement of the drill the holes 4-6 inches apart all around the exposed root flares. Then came the trial and error phase. Failures started to show up, they suggested to boost the dosages to 4 and 6 mils per dia. inch and when that didn't work again the dosage was again increased to 10 mils and 20 mils respectively. This is the recommended dosage rates used at present day and the 10 mil dosage rate prove with beneficial success. The 20 mil dosage rate left questionable results and with the assumption more is better without any consideration of phytotoxicity. However, we are still stuck on the large injection tees and excessive damage factor. ........... Remember more is better....
Alamo received it's EPA approval for used to inject Live Oak trees for oak wilt disease in May 1990. That is also when research from Texas A & M stopped and from there on became a change the rules as you go. The equipment and method of injection as previously mentioned was never researched or evaluated for efficacy, purpose and least of all consider the damage factor to the trees. The science here is simple, keep the customer happy, all is out of sight, and don't worry over nothing.
In 1990, the fungicide evolved through a price challenge....$192.00 per 4 oz bottle or $ 6144,00 per Gal. The Texas Agriculture Minister, Jim Hightower referred it as the biggest consumer rip off of the century by the chemical company ... "Ceba Giga". The formulation was changed from a petroleum base carrier to a MEC water base carrier. The price per quart was changed to $240.00 per quart or equivalent of $960.00 per gal. A quart would treat approximately 90 diameter inches. In 2003, the Alamo patent expired and FarmSaver marketed Quali-Pro Propiconazole at $150.00 per gal and the Forestry went wild with the attributes of Quali-Pro product which they plastered all over their web site. As other products came available at the new reduced prices they refused to share web space and decided to declare that they would only pay homage to the Alamo product as that was the only product that was used in the research studies for prevention of Oak Wilt. Bias agenda and shanky science again.
One Forestry Steward went as far to recommend a 30 mil dosage rate on trees with a diameter of 20" or greater. His personal, sound good science and assumption that the larger trees would be better protected and with absolutely no consideration regarding phytotoxicity potential of the chemical being applied at the higher dosage rate, which can be a serious health risk during hot dry summers. Propiconazole will ZAP a tree quicker than oak wilt if you do not water the trees prior to injection. On downside part is, he was recommending serious off label usage and application of the chemical. This could have meant serious infractions for the applicators to follow his shanky science for his off label recommendations.
Their recent recommendations to reduce the spacing from 4'' - 6" apart established in the early 90's to now 3 inches and irrespective of excessive damage, would better increase uptake and possible distribution.
The idea here is, it might provide a greater volume of fluid uptake, avoiding any gaps up the trunk stem and a more effective distribution to the entire canopy. What a price the tree must pay for man's intervention for the SO SO tree health care program. However, the increased number of drill holes
caused significant damage only to prove someone's agenda. The greater number of drill hole was not scrutinized by research but, assumed that more is better and would provide thorough uptake and distribution, which would off set high cost of high collateral damage to the tree. This aspect was determined by official PROCLAMATION and not by research.
" Drill'em and Kill'em - Method "
Click on Images to enlarge Photos Copyright Scenic Hills Nursery
The CHEMJET® Tree Syringe
Micro injection in its infancy was slowly becoming available and it had a bumpy road ahead due to the TFS negative input. The more negative statements they can say and think of, the better they feel about their destructive protocol of DRILL'EM and KILL'EM METHOD that has no research. They were using their total lack of knowledge and experience of the CHEMJET® tree syringe to destroy it's real value and track record for tree injection. If you don't understand it or like it ... then .....TRASH IT.
For four years, I have been selling the CHEMJET® to the public with a tremendous response. It is a simple spring loaded syringe that achieves a more effective goal of efficient distribution and dosage rates and at the same time eliminating the so called gap theory with only 24 small drill portals 11/64" dia placed 3" apart around the trunk flare or trunk stem above the soil line for which, the original research proved as the better location for tree injection.
The CHEMJET® is used world wide for more than 30 years with great success treating just about every tree disease or insect problem and yes world wide the injection is performed in the trunk stem and not below the soil line as the research provides more effective results.
THE DAMAGE FACTOR
With the murderous macro Drill'em and Kill'em effort, you have a 24 inch diameter tree, you have excavated 75 % more area to expose the root flares for the placement of 75% more drill portals (total of 72 holes), You have created about 85% more labor , 85% more damage and when you treat a second time you follow the same process moving 2 inches above the first treatment area. If you retreat in the previous location, you will encounter the discolored wood shavings, the tissue and cambium degradation caused by soil borne microbial and pathogenic infections, and the weeping canker, infected drill portals are rendered non-functional and greatly reduce the amount of wood available for storage of energy.
The images described above illustrates a lot of damage to the trees. Now look around the base ( 3 images photos below ) and notice the damage to the small feeder roots that have been hand dug out and broken.
Photos Copyright Scenic Hills Nursery
Click on Images to enlarge
I REPEAT !
The CHEMJET® achieves the same goal of efficient distribution with only 24 small drill portals 11/64" dia. placed 3" apart around the trunk flare above the soil line and the job is out of the dirt and the damage and labor factor is greatly reduced. The good news is, your tree is not exposed to soil borne pathogenic and canker infections. Furthermore, the macro method, uptake is sacrificed at the expense of the tree by root flare injection compared to the more efficient trunks stem micro-injection method.
(Here is a comparison to size: O = 11/64" CHEMJET® portal and O= 5/16" macro-injection portals and remember there are a lot of BIG holes) .... The overall hole volume comparison is 75% less
Lets give this a straight forward look. Take the 24" dia. tree and by drilling three time the diameter size, that is 72 drill holes 5/16 " dia. And 3/4”- 1" deep into the root flare. It takes approx. 3 holes to equate to 1 inch, Now imagine 72 holes side by side. That looks like you took a chainsaw and cut a gash 3/4” -1” deep, 5/16 inch wide by 24 inches around the tree and that adds up to 1/3 of the circumference around your tree. With The CHEMJET® , the gash would equate to 3/4” deep, 11/64" wide and only 4 inches long, thus reducing the collateral damage and labor to less than 85% to accomplish the same goal. So treat your tree twice with the MACRO .... "The Drill'em & Kill'em Method" and then the third time and you have caused sufficient damage to completely girdle the tree. Or save time and just cut the tree down, avoid all the hard work of repeated treatments and eliminate your fear of it getting OAK WILT. Take another look at the drill sizes comparison above, and ask yourself, do I really want to create that much damage to my tree? The CHEMJET® Syringe demonstrates the best all around results at a lesser cost to the tree.
The CHEMJETS® red handle will indicate the process of uptake which is usually within 3 to 5 hours. If "the tree is healthy the uptake is near the 100% mark. If you have one or two dead holes, just drill one or two more SMALL holes "O", that is still about 46 holes less. AND YES, My experience is that you come across very few defective drill sites in the trunk flare stem. Your drill may have been too hot and sealed the wood tissue. The process is not perfect but, you can see for yourself, the efficiency of micro injection, with reduced damage, far less labor and effective equivalent distribution due to the 3" spacing of the injectors. The Macro Injection exposed 75% greater area for the placement of 75% more drill portals, that create 75 % larger drill size by volume, 85% more labor and time, 85% more equipment to do the job and 100% more drill portals to filled with debris and exposed to pathogenic microbes, all in hope to achieve thorough distribution of the fungicide to prevent oak wilt. The Cure is worse than the disease as the lateen damage will not become apparent for years later. That is real shanky work.
The CHEMJET® trunk stem micro-injection maximizes the efficacy of the current micro-injection technology, efficient distribution, minimizes collateral energy cost and damage with far less intensive labor, reducing all the above factors by 85% to achieve overall better results. The trunk injection is exactly where science originally proved the most efficient location. Science at it best.
The overkill Drill'em and Kill'em macro method makes about as much sense to fire up an 18 wheeler tractor and trailer to pick up a loaf or bread at the convenience store.
Click on Images to enlarge Photos Copyright Scenic Hills Nursery
Numerous small feeder roots and the flare roots damaged extensively with digging tools.
With macro-injection, the greatest drawback is the tree’s lack of ability to stimulate only limited wound closure in the root flares below soil level. None of these problems are realized because the dirt is replaced, thus hiding all the evidence. Wound repair above the root flare is exactly the same in all part of the tree and the small drill holed will normally heal within 5-6 weeks. The Root-trunk flare is the life line of the tree, water and nutrients move upward from the roots via the vascular system and the solutes move via the phloem to roots for growth and storage and any amount of repetitive damage to this critical area can be very serious to the tree's vigor and over all health and ultimately can and will cause eventual death. Further evidence has shown that lawn mowers and weed eaters are the biggest tree killers due to the excessive damage to this critical area of the tree. So lets add invasive drill portals to the list.
I spent over a year researching and four years using the CHEMJET® and its track record and use world wide. In comparison to other micro injection methods the CHEMJET® demonstrated superior results both in reduced damage and efficient delivery. I believe, I have seen more effective results with the use of The CHEMJET®. Best of all, it is a user friendly tool for the homeowner that is very efficient in preventing oak wilt and very cost effective.
Out of the dirt and with a minimum amount of invasive damage.
A good Patriotic Combination .... so its got to work !
THE CHEMJET® - Tree Injector Syringe METHOD
THE CHEMJET® A simple, hand-held, plastic liquid injector for trees bears a likeness to an overgrown syringe and works on much the same principle. The system is said to be a cost efficient method for injecting insecticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and trace elements into any limb or trunk of 2 in. diameter or greater. After an injector has been filled by submerging its tip in solution and pulling up on the spring-loaded RED "T" handle which is then 1/4 twist locked, it is ready to be tightly inserted into a pre-drilled hole and unlocked. The internal spring then applies steady pressure delivering the injector's contents, usually in 3 to 5 hours depending on weather and sap viscosity. Once empty, The CHEMJET® injectors with their bright red handles are easily seen, quickly retrieved, cleaned, and ready for use again.
The end photo here showes a Micro Injection! Job done - 5 minutes One injector every three inches A 24" dia tree. = 24 Injectors, NOT 72 Drill Holes, 5/16" dia. for the Drill'em - Kill'em - METHOD .
Photos Copyright Scenic Hills Nursery
Which is better this" O " or this "O" ......... SEE... no contest ..!!.
The CHEMJET® stands by it's record of a better uptake is within three to five hours providing maximum distribution to the canopy. I have had less failures over past four years using the CHEMJET® micro Injection system. When the injection process is complete, the equipment is cleaned and refilled in the evening hours preceding the injection schedule and the actual installation is less than 15 minutes per tree. Your tree wins every time!
Photos and illustrations - Copyright Chemjet Trading Pty,Ltd, Australia
In simple terms, you are getting the job out of the dirt, reduce drill size, fewer drill portal and the faster wound closure. Most important of all was the uptake from trunk stem injection , it achieved greater efficiency and distribution
throughout the tree's canopy just as science and research intended.
THE RATE DOSAGE Illustrations - Copyright Chemjet Trading Pty,Ltd, Australia
The CHEMJET®, delivers the preventive dosage rate of 10 mil per diameter inch or 240 mils of propiconazole for the 24" diameter tree, includes with a 50/50% chemical - water solution.
The CHEMJET® syringe procedure with the higher concentration is much like a booster shot of an antibiotic, that goes to work immediately and with more effective results, as the application uses the water within the tree for dilution and transport to the leaves for complete distribution all at a far lesser cost of invasive damage. The macro injection system, with a very high volume water with prescribed dosage of 240 mils of fungicide diluted with approximately 8 gallons, that equates to about 1 oz per gal of water or a very few parts per million ratio and the damage factor exceeds the chemjet application by more that 85%.
OAK WILT INJECTION Demonstration
I can not help sounding critical, but these work shop sponsored by Forest Service and the local Extensions Offices are like a feeding frenzy for a bunch of sharks. “People just eat this stuff up and keep repeating it,” Injecting a tree demonstrates that it is easy, ( 1 1/2 hours for excavation ) the tree is before hand excavated, but the homeowner only see the 30 minute demo of the drill placement, the harness lines and tees installed around the tree and then all is connected to the reservoir pump up tank and let the injection begin..... ( Total 2 hours labor) Two years later, I arrive to find some sort of apparatus up against the tree with some tees in the tree, lines filled with a dark brown fluid and some lines broken and covered with leaves and etc.... their only comment, ....." Well it didn't work like they showed us" .
LETS MOVE FORWARD
I have requested Texas A & M several times, if they would consider research on the efficacy of the CHEMJET® micro injection and have received absolute total silence regarding this subject. This indicates their total absolute pride and satisfaction of the ill fated DRILL'EM and KILL'EM method for tree injection. We know our method works and nothiing else is worth while to consider, and that is our position !
I would like to see the Texas A & M and the Forestry Service to make an honest effort to look at some of the options that are on the market and acknowledge the most promising micro injection methods for their merits that provide equal or better results than the present macro methods. Universities in California, Agriculture Research Facilities & Service of California, Florida, The North Eastern USA, Missouri , Georgia, and Alabama have purchased and endorsed the CHEMJET® Syringe and it's merits to further their research on various related tree diseases. The CHEMJET® has proven to be a very important tool, as part of their research applications and part of their guide lines are, less invasive damage is better and maximizing greater efficiency in distribution.
Word about the TRENCHING!
95 % of Tree Roots in the top soil layers 12" to 18 " depth
These roots will rapidly re-grow and inter-graft within a few short months and then penetrate the adjacent trench walls. It is referred to as TRENCH FAILURE. This happens with every trench, it is only a short time stop gap. Trenches only slow down down the rate of movement of the disease. TRENCHING will never stopped the rapid spread of oak wilt. However, it has only proven to maintain the money flow !
Trenching has not stopped the rapid spread of the disease but, has made better conditions for roots to re-grow and intergraph in the newly excavated trenches. The insects are not looking for trenches or stop signs .... it's your healthy tree that it is after..... Treatment with the Alamo and subsequent products has saved tens of thousand trees but, has not slowed the progression either. Is this the best we can do? There is no further research. That is exactly where we stand to day, using the same basic ideas, tools, same chemicals and application protocols, hiding the evidence from the customer and with devastating results.
Where has all the research gone?
I will use the example of Dutch Elm Disease. It has been around for more that 60 years, I grew up with back in Canada and research is still ongoing to this day. The US and Canada lost millions of elm trees, Britain lost over 20 million and The Canary Islands are void of Elm trees. Canada is not trying to treat the fungus but, applying a treatment of prevention for the Dutch Elm Disease. The new treatment does not work directly on the fungus causing Dutch elm disease. The treatment instead stimulates the tree’s own natural defense system. The treatment has a strong protective effect because it activates the tree's natural immune defense response to Dutch elm disease.
This clinical discovery was made more than 36 years ago by a Yale University graduate of molecular biology. Dr D. M. Roy was offered carte blanc research facilities in Toronto in 1968 and just three and a half years later, he discovered the all natural cure for D E D. However, it is not well accepted here in the USA even to this day. We didn't invent it ... It don't work !!!! Oak Wilt research here in Texas is … DEAD! We are not looking for possible new natural biological treatments nor to improve the treatment protocols to reduce labor or the invasive damage to better serve our MAJESTIC OAKS. It is continued research and new technology that will provide the answers and a possible cure for oak wilt some day.
The treatment is based on a special natural protein which was discovered by the University of Toronto scientific team as a result of intensive advanced molecular biology research. The overall project was looked at from a chemical point of view and not a forestry point of view’ as we do for oak wilt here in Texas. The protein elicits a defensive response in the tree which enables it to resist the onset of the aggressive and deadly strain of Dutch elm disease. The treatment is unique because it is all natural - it contains no synthetic chemicals and is non-toxic. This treatment was first applied in 1972 before I arrived here in the USA and its an on going research to this day. It is not an absolute cure as not every tree responds the same according its general health is a major factor. Canada and Britain are also looking at injectable insecticides to control and destroy the two species of the elm bark beetles.
The History of Elm Disease : http://archives.cbc.ca/environment/natural_disasters/clips/13912/
Elmcare : http://www.elmcare.com/disease/dutchelm/innovative_new_treatment.htm
The man who cured Elm Disease : http://archives.cbc.ca/environment/natural_disasters/clips/6964/