KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Your brown trees and shrubs may have nothing to do with this summer's drought and heat.
More people are starting to realize the damage was done long before the scorching summer sun ever arrived, caused by a weed killer sprayed on lawns in an attempt to care for them.
Now, those brown, dying trees or shrubs in your yard could bring green to your wallet as it already has for thousands of homeowners in the metro and across the country.
The two huge trees in Dan Fromm's Mission Hills front yard started dying long before he ever realized it.
They were still green when his lawn care company, Ryan Lawn and Tree, knocked on his front door.
Ryan Lawn and Tree informed him DuPont's new environmentally-friendly herbicide, Imprelis, had killed two old evergreens.
"I wouldn't have known it was a lost cause had they not told me," Fromm said.
The EPA told DuPont to pull it off the shelves while it investigates. DuPont said it has voluntarily recalled it.
Last year, lawn care companies across the nation sprayed the weed killer on thousands of yards, boulevards and golf courses.
Now this year, shrubs, evergreen hedges and trees, mostly Norway Spruce and White Pine, are starting to show evidence of damage.
Lawn care companies have said it's costing DuPont millions in refunds.
DuPont did not return the phone calls from 41 Action News.
Fromm said he recently got a notice in the mail from DuPont about a settlement. He received thousands of dollars to replace his dead greenery.
Another nearby resident believed $50,000 worth of shrubs and trees were ruined in his yard.
He said he is now suing Ryan Lawn and Tree because he said it should have done what other companies do: Wait to use new products to see if they are safe.
Kansas State University plant pathologists have studied samples to see if there could be another reason for the damage.
"In most cases where there was strange growth on the plant, it was not due to any disease we could find...maybe it was due to Imprelis, but we have no way of proving that in our lab at K-State," Dr. Megan Kennelly explained.
Fromm said he is happy with the settlement and the way Ryan Lawn and Tree pursued the claim.
But he said he now wonders, like so many other homeowners, if his burnt hedges are a result of this summer's drought and heat or a bad lawn chemical.
"A lot of lawns don't look as good as they did in the past. I believe it's in large part due to weather so it does beg the question," he said.
Ryan Lawn and Tree did not have a comment.
There are other companies that have used Imprelis too.
If you would like to find out if the brown you now see in your yard is due to herbicide damage, call DuPont's Imprelis Hotline at 1-866-796-4783.
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