Imidacloprid movement in soils and impacts on soil microarthropods in southern Appalachian eastern hemlock stands


Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide effective in controlling the exotic pest Adelges tsugae (hemlock woolly adelgid) in eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) trees. Concerns over imidacloprid impacts on nontarget species have limited its application in southern Appalachian ecosystems. We quantified the movement and adsorption of imidacloprid in forest soils after soil injection in two sites at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in western North Carolina. Soils differed in profile depth, total carbon and nitrogen content, and effective cation exchange capacity. We injected imidacloprid 5 cm into mineral soil, 1.5 m from infested trees, using a Kioritz soil injector. We tracked the horizontal and vertical movement of imidacloprid by collecting soil solution and soil samples at 1 m, 2 m, and at the drip line from each tree periodically for 1 yr. Soil solution was collected 20 cm below the surface and just above the saprolite, and acetonitrile-extractable imidacloprid was determined through the profile. Soil solution and extractable imidacloprid concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Soil solution and extractable imidacloprid concentrations were greater in the site with greater soil organic matter. Imidacloprid moved vertically and horizontally in both sites; concentrations generally declined downward in the soil profile, but preferential flow paths allowed rapid vertical movement. Horizontal movement was limited, and imidacloprid did not move to the tree drip line. We found a negative relationship between adsorbed imidacloprid concentrations and soil microarthropod populations largely in the low-organic-matter site; however, population counts were similar to other studies at Coweeta.

  • Citation: Knoepp, Jennifer D.; Vose, James M.; Michael, Jerry L.; Reynolds, Barbara C. 2012. Imidacloprid movement in soils and impacts on soil microarthropods in southern Appalachian eastern hemlock stands. Journal of Environmental Quality 41:469-478.
  • Posted Date: March 20, 2012
  • Modified Date: November 13, 2020
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.