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Is Weed Killer Dicamba Affecting Oak Trees?

 Lou Nelms, a retired biologist, stands next to an oak tree in Atlanta, Illinois, that may have been damaged by herbicide drift.  (Photo by Darrell Hoemann / The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting)

A weed killer called dicamba has damaged or destroyed millions of acres of soybeans across the Midwest in the last couple of years. Now, a new report says that’s not all that’s being harmed. Harvest Public Media’s Erica Hunzinger (HUN-zing-ur) has more.

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The issue with dicamba is drift — that is, when farmers spray it, it can float onto other plants. Now, at least three states — Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee — are seeing possible dicamba damage on oak trees. Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources says it’s received upwards of 1,000 complaints about pesticide damage to oaks.  Some scientists think dicamba is the culprit, but there’s no definitive finding. But emails obtained by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting show Monsanto lobbyists told the Illinois agriculture department that some other pesticide likely was at fault. BASF, which also sells dicamba, says it’s aware of issues with oak trees and that growers should reach out with concerns. Erica Hunzinger, Harvest Public Media

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