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NC State Extension

Insecticides in Christmas Trees — Just One Tool in the Pest Control Toolkit

Using Pesticides Wisely

toolbox-150Twenty years ago, pest control was fairly simple in Fraser fir Christmas trees grown in western North Carolina. Most people treated trees in the spring with granular Di-Syston 15 G for twig aphid control and sprayed every 2 to 3 years with Lindane with a high pressure sprayer for balsam woolly adelgid control. Today it is more complicated. These materials are no longer available, but there are many more that are. There are also more pest problems. Pesticide choice and timing will affect pest flair-ups if natural predators are killed. And since Christmas trees are a multi-year crop, what you do this year will affect what pests you have next year. This website is designed to help the grower sort through all pest treatment options.

Growers can make one of two errors — either treating when they don’t need to or not treating when they should. Both mistakes cause a problem.

Using a pesticide when you don’t need to:

  • wastes money,
  • exposes the environment and the pesticide applicator unnecessarily to pesticides,
  • and endangers the pests’ natural enemies that are giving free pest control.

Not using a pesticide or some other form of pest control when you need to:

  • causes unnecessary damage to the tree,
  • may make the rotation longer which adds to production costs,
  • and allows pest numbers to build up to the point where they are harder to eliminate, requiring a stronger pesticide for control.

The guidelines outlined in this pest control portal will help you decide what to treat for, with what and when.

For more information on the safe application of pesticides see: Christmas Tree Farm Safety: Pesticides.

For more information on pesticides used in Christmas trees see: Pesticides Labeled for Use on Christmas Trees in North Carolina.

A Note to the Public on Insecticide Use in Christmas Trees

On this site are lists of insecticides applied either singly or in combination during different treatment windows. To a causal observer, it might appear that a lot of pesticides are used in Christmas trees. This is not the case. Compared to other commodities grown in western North Carolina that might need weekly sprays, overall pesticide use is low in Christmas trees. With the use of IPM techniques described in the Fraser Fir Pest Control Portal, growers continue to reduce their pesticide use. This web site was created to help growers sort through all the treatment options available to them, so that they can decide what fits their situation best, thereby helping them make the safest and most efficient pesticide choice possible. That’s why there are so many different combinations listed.

For more information on pesticide use in Christmas trees in western North Carolina see: Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas Tree Farms and Pesticides.

Back to Fraser Fir IPM Pest Control Main Page