Though glyphosate is considered to be a nonselective herbicide, conifer growers have long known that under certain conditions, they could contact the lower branches of their trees with the herbicide Roundup without injuring them. Species, time of application, rate of application, surfactant, method of application, and pruning wounds are all factors affecting conifer tolerance to glyphosate. Because Roundup was widely used by conifer growers, they were very concerned when the formulation of Roundup was changed to contain a more active surfactant. The new product was marketed under the name Roundup Pro. This change increased its herbicidal activity and raised the possibility that it could damage trees if applied in the same way as Roundup. To determine the tolerance of conifers grown in the northeast to a variety of glyphosate formulations, and sulfosate, a set of studies was established. Roundup, Roundup Pro, Glyfos, Accord, and Sulfosate were all applied to field grown hemlock, white fir, Canaan fir, fraser fir, douglas fir, Colorado spruce, and eastern white pine. Rates of 1 to 3 lb active ingredient/A were applied in the fall after new growth was hardened off. In general, it was found that the risk of injuring trees with Roundup Pro is greater than with the old formulation of Roundup. However, in all cases in which Roundup Pro caused more injury than Roundup, the Roundup Pro was applied at 3 lb active ingredient/A. This rate is double the rate recommended for this use. In calibrated, directed spray applications at 1.5 lb active ingredient/A or less, Roundup Pro should be safe for use around the species tested after their growth has fully hardened in the fall.
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