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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improved Strategies for Management of Soilborne Diseases of Horticultural Crops

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Title: Methyl bromide phase out could affect future reforestation efforts

Author
item Weiland, Gerald

Submitted to: Western Forester
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2014
Publication Date: January 15, 2014
Citation: Weiland, G.E. 2014. Methyl bromide phase out could affect future reforestation efforts. Western Forester. 59:8-10.

Technical Abstract: Methyl bromide has long been an integral component in producing healthy tree seedlings in forest nurseries of California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The fumigant was supposed to be completely phased out of use in the United States of America by 2005, but many forest nurseries continue to use methyl bromide under the quarantine and preshipment exemption. This exemption allows the industry to continue to use methyl bromide to prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of quarantine pests, including plant diseases. As of 2013, approximately 70% of the forest nurseries in the region still use methyl bromide, but its availability is expected to end soon. Currently, five fumigants are registered as replacements for methyl bromide by the Environmental Protection Agency, but additional research is needed to optimize their use in the forest nursery industry. Challenges faced by the industry in using these five fumigants include suburban encroachment on nursery borders, the availability of fumigants for use in the spring, and a lack of knowledge about the long-term effects of new fumigants on disease and pest control. In the short term, it may become increasingly expensive to obtain forest tree seedlings of the size and quality that foresters have come to expect. In the long term, fumigation will probably become increasingly difficult due to increased regulation and some nurseries may be forced to close or switch to containerized-seedling production.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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