Alternatives to Methyl Bromide in Southern Forest Tree Nurseries
Clark W. Lantz, 1Nursery/Tree Improvement Specialist, Cooperative Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Atlanta, GA, 1997
Forest tree nurseries in the southern US are growing an average of 1.2 billion seedlings per year or about 80% of
the total seedling production in the US. This annual nursery production supports a planting program of
approximately 1.8 million acres-an area about the size of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
Fumigation is practiced by 89% of these nurseries for both disease and weed control. The chemical of choice has
been methyl bromide, applied every year by some nursery managers and every second year by others.
nurseries have used fumigation only on an "as-needed" basis to deal with chronic disease problems. One nursery
has successfully grown high quality annual seedling crops without fumigation for 16 years. This nursery has
emphasized intensive soil management with bark mulch and aggressive weed control.