USDA Forest Service

Forest Health Protection, Southern Region


USDA Forest Service
Forest Health Protection
Region 8
1720 Peachtree Road, NW
Room 816 N
Atlanta, GA 30309

Phone: (404) 347-7478
Fax: (404) 347-1880

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

USDA Link Forest Service Link



Southern nurseries have historically produced approximately 1.3 billion forest seedlings annually, which accounts for 80% of the total forest-tree seedlings grown in the United States. Forest Health Protection (FHP) provides southern forest nurseries with technology transfer, technical assistance and training. FHP has also been instrumental in acquiring information on alternatives to methyl bromide through technology development projects and collaboration on research studies.


  • 89% of southern nurseries use the fumigant methyl bromide with chloropicrin on a regular schedule to control soilborne pests.
  • In 1991, Parties of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer listed methyl bromide as an ozone-depleting chemical. The production of methyl bromide for soil fumigation in developed nations was scheduled to be banned on January 1, 2005.
  • United Nations administers of the Montreal Protocol granted the United States CUE's (critical use exemptions) for 2005 at levels comparable to 35% of the 1991 baseline of methyl bromide. In 2006, the CUE levels of methyl bromide have been approved for only 27% of the 1991 baseline with the remaining 10% to be decided at a meeting in June 2005.
  • In the South, only members of the Auburn Coop, International Paper, and Weyerhaeuser Company are approved to use CUE supplies of methyl bromide. This leaves approximately 22 southern nurseries that produce 123,068,702 bare root seedlings (Auburn Nursery Coop TN04-02) without access to CUE supplies of methyl bromide. Quarantine Pre-shipment supplies of methyl bromide are only available if these nurseries ship out of state.

Program Highlights

  • Alternatives to methyl bromide (see attached for technology transfer products).
    • FHP participated in 2 National Special Technology Development Projects (STDP).
      • 1994-1998: R8 investigated the effects of organic amendments and no fumigation in three nurseries (corporate, state, Federal) that grow bareroot pines. Investigators cooperating with FHP included scientists from the state of Florida, University of Florida, and Forest Service Research.
      • 1998-2001: R8 investigated the effects of 100% Chloropicrin, (1 site included metam sodium/chloropicrin), EPTC herbicide, and Paenibacillus macerans (PGPR) seed treatment in three pine nurseries (2 State, 1 corporate). Investigators cooperating with FHP included scientists from Auburn University and Forest Service Research.
    • Other alternatives to methyl bromide projects
      • 2000-2003: FHP cooperated with FS Research on an evaluation of dazomet and metam sodium for production of Fraser fir seedlings at Linville Nursery, NC.
      • 1999-2000: FHP cooperated with FS Research on an evaluation of broadcast applications of glyphosate for control of nutsedge.
      • Nematodes
        • 2000-present: a new needle nematode (Longidorus americanum) was found to damage loblolly pine during the 98-2000 STDP. FHP has continued to cooperate with FS Research on host range tests for identification of nonhost cover crops and the use of fallow as pest management practices.
        • 2003-present: FHP has cooperated with Forest Service Research on the evaluation of pathogenicity and host range of a stunt nematode (Tylenchorhynchus ewingi) and stubby-root nematode (Paratrichodorus minor) found associated with damaged pine seedlings in some nurseries.
  • Technical assistance and training
    • FHP provides assistance on managing seedlings diseases and identifying causal agents of damage to state, corporate and private nurseries. FHP has provided training on disease identification and pesticide application for forest-tree nurseries when requested.

Conclusions/Future direction

The availability of methyl bromide is expected to decrease and the cost is expected to increase, which will place pressure on nursery managers to use available alternatives. At this time, it appears that no one alternative fumigant will replace methyl bromide for all southern forest nurseries. Managers will need to tailor alternative pest management strategies that will work with their crops, soils, and pests problems in their nursery. Managers will need good science-based information on a variety of strategies including alternate fumigants, chemical, biological, and cultural practices. FHP is continuing to address information gaps on managing soilborne pests through cooperation with forest nurseries of all ownerships and with state, federal and university scientists.


More Information



FHP Contacts:

Michelle Cram
Forest Service-USDA
320 Green St.
Athens, GA 30602
Phone: 706-559-4233

USDA Forest Service - Forest Health Protection, Southern Region
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:28 CST

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