Evergreen Golf Club in Wisconsin a possible victim of Imprelis, DuPont's controversial herbicide
The beautiful pines that line many of the fairways and greens inspired the name of Evergreen Golf Club in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
The 27-hole course just south of touristy Lake Geneva is beloved by locals as a friendly parkland track that is affordable and not too difficult on the scorecard. Normally, evergreens aren’t the trees of choice for golf courses because they gobble up errant shots and cause lost balls. Their thick branches and needles also make it virtually impossible to play shots from under them. But the pines work at Evergreen. The staff trims the bottoms of certain trees, leaving room for escape.
Unfortunately, some of these treasures are struggling to survive. General Manager Bill Rogers said the course could lose as many as 400 trees to the controversial Imprelis herbicide, which DuPont introduced last year for commercial use. Imprelis is blamed for killing pines and spruces around the Midwest. DuPont has suspended the sale of the product and has launched a Web site for courses to log claims.
According to the Web site, www.imprelis-facts.com, here is the company’s latest stance on Imprelis:
• It indicated that most properties treated had successful weed control without reported injury to trees.
• The reported damage appears to be primarily affecting certain sensitive tree species, such as Norway spruce and white pine, but DuPont has also received reports of damage to other species. The majority of the reported damage is concentrated in a geographic band that includes Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin.
• The suspected injury has varied, depending on tree size, age and timing of growth.
• The most commonly reported symptoms have been needle browning and curling of new growth. I witnessed these issues at Evergreen.
Rogers said his course is currently following the claims process put in place by DuPont in September. The Evergreen course superintendent is currently tagging trees that may be in danger of dying and monitoring them all closely.
Rogers tried to downplay the effects of potentially losing all those trees.
“Like a lot of courses, we were overplanted (with trees),” he said. “There are some key trees that will have to be replaced. I’ve read about courses where losing trees opens up angles and makes the course play more strategic. Some (we lose) might open up angles and help.”
Others worry about the long-term impact.
“It (the losses) will probably hurt from a scenic point of view,” said golfer Mike Woitowicz of Williams Bay. “A lot of trees could come out, the big ones. They can’t be replaced. It’s a shame.”
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