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INSECT CONTROL FOR TREES

Tree Insect Control - Boulder and Fort Collins

Integrated Pest Management for Trees

If you are looking for professional tree insect control then Organo-Lawn is your tree care expert. We approach insect control on trees differently than most tree care services. Instead of treating every tree on your property with unnecessary chemicals, we evaluate whether your trees need to be treated proactively or if we can treat them reactively as necessary. This approach dramatically reduces the amount of insecticides applied to your trees.

Why Proper Tree Watering Practices Prevent Insect Pressure on Trees

Another important change that we recommend to reduce insect pressure on trees is to correct the way that the sprinkler system is watering the trees. Following the principals of the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique can reduce insect pressure on trees by as much as 90%. For instance if an Austrian Pine is suffering from a Zimmerman moth attack we know that the pine tree is being over watered. If an ash tree is suffering from lilac borer pressure we know that the ash tree is under drought stress. These are just a few examples of types of insects that attack trees that are not being watered properly. The 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique is designed not only for lawns, but it is the best technique for watering trees.

Tree Service Company Boulder

This ash tree is being attacked by aphids. They cause the leaves curl and become distorted. Safari is a wonderful aphid insect control on trees.

Why Organo-Lawn Won't Spray Trees with Chemicals


Insect Control for TreesOrgano-Lawn does not believe that aerial spraying of insects is environmentally friendly. Aerial sprays are hard to control and when spraying into a tree the other living creatures like squirrels, birds, and beneficial insects can be accidentally sprayed. Fortunately, Organo-Lawn has the ability to control 99% of damaging tree insects with special insecticides that can be applied via underground soil drench or direct trunk injection.

The introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer into Colorado have made insect controls via soil injections an important service in preventing damage or death to trees. If you would like Organo-Lawn to evaluate your trees and design a custom tree care program please call us to set up a consultation. Our expert tree care services are performed by licensed tree care experts. Boulder (303) 499-2000 and Fort Collins (970) 546-0959.

Preventative Insect Control using Criterion (a.k.a. Merit)

We use a special insecticide called Criterion, which is applied via a soil drench underneath the ground. Criterion is a systemic insecticide which means that the product is picked up via the root system and pushed through the tree into the leaf tissue. When insects like aphids, leafminers, or scales attack the tree they will come in contact with the toxin in the tree and they will die. The best aspect of this insect control is that it won't pass through the abscission layer of the tree, therefore it will not come in contact with insects that do not feed on the tree. This means Criterion will not harm beneficial insects like lady bugs, lacewings, or honeybees.

Note: Criterion takes 4-6 weeks for the tree to push the insecticide into the upper and outer branches of the tree. Therefore, this application must be applied at least 4 weeks prior to any insect pressure on trees. Criterion is effective for one year and it will provide season long insect control and prevention.

Reactive Insect Control using Safari

We use a special fast acting insecticide called Safari that is applied underneath the ground, via a soil drench. Safari works almost identically to Criterion except it will start to control insects within 2-3 days after a soil drench application. Safari is more expensive than Criterion, however, it will work its way into the tree very quickly and can be used to control insect pressure reactively. Safari will provide insect control for trees for up to one year.

Which Tree Insects are Controlled by Criterion and Safari

  • Aphids on deciduous and coniferous trees
  • Curl aphid on ash trees
  • Mealy bugs
  • Leafminers on elm trees and hawthorns
  • Bronze birch borers on birch trees
  • Elm leaf beetle and elm scale
  • Honeylocust plant bug
  • Juniper scale
  • Kermes scale on oak and deciduous trees
  • Cottony maple scale
  • Oystershell scale
  • Ash sawfly
  • Emerald Ash Borer - Criterion and Safari will prevent emerald ash borer attacks, but it will not kill emerald ash borers if they are already in the trunk of the ash tree.
  • Both Criterion and Safari do control a wide spectrum of insects, but only Orthene controls spider mites.
Tree Insect Control Boulder

Aphids secret a shiny sticky substance called honeydew, this will be found on the top side of the leaf and often attracts hornets and wasps. Aphids can also cause curling and yellowing or browning of leaves.

Are Tree Insect Controls Safe for Honeybees?

As a professional tree service we understand that Criterion and Safari are in the neonicotinoid family of pesticides. We understand that neonicotinoids are highly toxic to honeybees and we are extremely concerned about the safety of honeybees. We have spent hundreds of hours researching the use of Criterion and Safari and have found no scientific evidence that when Criterion and Safari are used via the soil drench technique, that the honeybees are harmed in any manner.

The scientific explanation as to why neonicotinoids are non-problematic for honeybees via the soil drench technique is because the insecticide cannot penetrate the abscission layer of the tree. This means the pesticide cannot pass into the flower or pollen of the tree. That being said, if we find or are provided scientific evidence that states otherwise we will discontinue the use of all neonicotinoid insecticides.

Options Other Than Neonicotinoids for Insect Control in Trees

If you are concerned about the use of neonicotinoids and their toxicity on honeybees then we offer insect control on trees using a product called Orthene. This is a different family of insecticides and Orthene is not in the neonicotinoid family of pesticides. Orthene is a fast acting insecticide but its control is short lived and it will only last for a few weeks. It is important to note that repeated applications may may be necessary if insects return. If no additional insect pressure occurs then no secondary Orthene applications will be required.

Note: Orthene does not control all of the same insects that Criterion or Safari will control. We understand that insect control on trees is very confusing. Please consult with one of our tree care experts before ordering any insect control for your trees.

Organo-Lawn of Boulder (303) 499-2000 or Fort Collins (970) 225-9425

Tree Service Company Fort Collins

Both Criterion and Safari are neonicotinoid insecticides. When applied via soil drench the insecticide does not come in contact with honeybees nor the pollen of the tree.

Pricing for Insect Treatment for Trees

Preventative Insect Control for Trees*

Using Criterion (a.k.a. Merit) Insecticide

* Minimum Purchase of $75 is Required

Tree Trunk Diameter** - Cost Per Tree

Flowers - $1.25
Small Shrubs 6" or Less - $3.50
Medium Shrubs 6-18" - $6.50
Large Shrubs 18" or Taller - $8.50
1" Tree Trunk Diameter - $11.00
2" Tree Trunk Diameter - $15.50
3" Tree Trunk Diameter - $20.25
4" Tree Trunk Diameter - $25.00
5" Tree Trunk Diameter - $29.75
6" Tree Trunk Diameter - $34.25
7" Tree Trunk Diameter - $39.00
8" Tree Trunk Diameter - $43.75

Additional Inches - Call for Pricing

Discounts: $5.00 off orders over $100.00, $10.00 off over $150.00
and $30.00 off over $300.00

** Click here to learn how to calculate the diameter (DBH) of your trees

Criterion Application Season:

Early April

September - Early November

Reactive and Preventative Insect Control for Trees*

Using Safari Insecticide

*Minimum Purchase of $75 is Required

Tree Trunk Diameter** - Cost Per Tree

Flowers - $5.25
Small Shrubs 6" or Less - $13.50
Medium Shrubs 6-18" - $24.00
Large Shrubs 18" or Taller - $36.50
1" Tree Trunk Diameter - $7.25
2" Tree Trunk Diameter - $14.50
3" Tree Trunk Diameter - $21.75
4" Tree Trunk Diameter - $29.00
5" Tree Trunk Diameter - $36.50
6" Tree Trunk Diameter - $43.75
7" Tree Trunk Diameter - $51.00
8" Tree Trunk Diameter - $58.00

Additional Inches - Call for Pricing

Discounts: $5.00 off orders over $100.00, $10.00 off over $150.00
and $30.00 off over $300.00

** Click here to learn how to calculate the diameter (DBH) of your trees

Safari Application Season:

May - September


Common Insects that Attack Trees

We understand that insect controls for trees can be confusing due to the many nuances of how each product works. To talk with a tree care expert please contact our office to answer your tree care questions.

Use this link to learn more about the common insects that affect Colorado and Front Range trees.

Organo-Lawn of Boulder (303) 499-2000 or Fort Collins (970) 225-9425


FAQ - Tree Insecticides

Is Imidacloprid safe for bees?

The active ingredient in the insecticides Criterion and Merit is called Imidacloprid. This insecticide is in the neonicotinoid family of pesticides. Scientific studies indicate that neonicotinoids are highly toxic to honeybees. If Imidacloprid is sprayed on the foliage of a tree via aerial spraying, it can be extremely toxic to honeybees. According to scientific studies when applying Imidacloprid via the soil drench method, there has been no evidence that the honeybees come in contact with any of the insecticide Imidacloprid.

The reason that Imidacloprid cannot harm bees via the soil drench method is because the insecticide cannot penetrate the abscission layer of the tree and therefore the insecticide does not get into the flower or pollen of the tree. If we find or are provided scientific evidence that states otherwise we will discontinue the use of this insecticide.

Insect Control for Trees Boulder