A recent Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati.com article on Emerald Ash Borer treatment by Denny McKeown has raised some questions. The article, New insecticide protects ash trees, is partially correct but also partially misleading.
The insecticide the article refers to goes by the brand name of Optrol, also known as Xytect. While the article says this material is new, it is not. This is a re-labeled Imidacloprid product (sometimes known as Merit). Arbor Doctor has used it for several years on some trees. It does provide control. However, under high insect pressure, we have seen trees significantly affected despite treatment. Treated trees have not been killed yet in our experience. However, trees treated with Treeage by Arbor Doctor consistently show no borer activity.
For that reason, Arbor Doctor this year decided to transition many of our Xytect clients to Treeage. We want our clients to see optimal results with the highest chances for success. Treeage is applied every other year, while Xytect must be applied annually. The long term cost of Xytect, applied twice as often, ends up being similar to Treeage, perhaps a bit less, but with lesser results as well.
For some unknown reason, Denny McKeown has repeatedly opposed Treeage. He has said on his show that you should run anyone off your property who approaches your ash with a drill. Numerous studies have looked at possible ill effects of Arborjet Treeage injections and have found no ill effects. Denny has his opinions, but his opinion on Treeage has no basis in fact that we know of.
As an ISA Certified Arborist, Arbor Doctor owner Ron Rothhaas agrees to adhere to the ISA Code of Ethics which requires that adherents “Deliver safe and competent services with objective and independent professional judgment in decision-making.”
Arbor Doctor is not opposed to either Xytect or Optrol. Be aware, however, that you will likely still see some activity. Also, correct application methodology is imperative for success. Arbor Doctor does use Xytect, and will if that is what you want, but it is not our first choice for most trees in high infestation areas.