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Tree-age uses compounds in the same class of toxicity as those used to worm dogs and to kill fish lice in salmon farms, McCullough said. “It means it’s not horribly toxic. I am a forest entomologist. My job is keeping forests healthy. I don’t want nasty chemicals in the environment.”
A Canadian firm developed a low-toxicity pesticide called TreeAzin, which Rainbow Tree Care Co. injected into the ash trees on Burnsville’s municipal campus. The company says the product is a safe, “organic” option.
Made from the seeds of the tropical neem tree, TreeAzin has “extremely low toxicity to mammals” and low environmental impact, said John Sierk, pesticide regulatory specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Burnsville is looking for the most environmentally friendly product it can find and will be watching to see how well it works, Schultz said.
Minneapolis — which is steering clear of pesticides because residents have reservations about their safety — is unlikely to be swayed by it, said Ralph Sievert, director of forestry for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
“So far just the word pesticide has garnered a negative reaction. Up till now those opposed to pesticides have not shown a difference of opinion based on an organic or natural label,” he said.
Minneapolis’ decision not to use pesticides for city trees hasn’t stopped pesticide makers from marketing to private property owners. Arbojet, makers of Tree-age, demonstrated an injection of the product for Linden Hills residents on Thursday.
Residents may hire approved contractors to treat boulevard ash, but the park board forestry department is concentrating on removal and replacement to keep ahead of the killing wave of beetles, Sievert said.
The city cut down 100 still-green ash trees along Penn Avenue S. as part of the reconstruction of that road, Sievert said. “We describe them as not-yet-infested trees. We don’t call them healthy trees.”
To learn more about the emerald ash borer, see www.emeraldashborer.info.
Laurie Blake • 952-746-3287