Fruit Trees in Orchards Possibly Damaged by Dicamba

Christy Couch Lee reported recently at Prairie Farmer Online that, “In his 81 years, Bill Flamm has seen many changes on his family’s Flamm Orchards in the rolling hills of Union County, Ill. But until mid-July of this year, the leaf curl and tree stress on the orchard’s peach and apple trees was foreign.

“Nephew Jeff Flamm says they’ve yet to get a definite answer on the cause.

“When leaf curl began to appear on peach trees, the Flamms sought expert opinions: a horticulturist from Southern Illinois University’s Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems; a representative from the Illinois Department of Agriculture; an Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association agronomist; a technical agronomist from Southern FS; and a representative from Bayer.”

The article stated that, “‘So far, everyone has told us the same thing — it’s a growth-regulating herbicide, likely dicamba — except for the Bayer rep, who didn’t really have an answer to what it is,’ Jeff says. ‘We’re basically left with more questions than answers. This is all-new territory.’

According to IDOA, as of Sept. 17, the department had received 329 dicamba-related complaints — up from 240 at the same time in 2017.”

Ms. Lee added that, “The issue of dicamba drift as it relates to row crops has been widely debated. But what about chemical trespass as it relates to orchards and other specialty crops? It appears there are more questions than answers.”

“A decision by EPA on dicamba herbicide registrations was expected by late August. But as of mid-September, the agency has not yet acted…Raghela Scavuzzo, local foods program manager in governmental affairs and commodities with the Illinois Farm Bureau, says the organization is watching for a decision on the issue,” the article said.

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