I am sure I will take some heat from the anti-pesticide crowd for this review, but one of the reasons I started my blog was to pass along, what I consider, to be valuable advice and opinions. All in an effort to help people grow happier and healthier plants. Unfortunately, pests and plants go hand-in-hand. It has been that way for millions of years. We will never be rid of pests in our gardens; instead, we can only hope to mitigate the damage they do to our beloved plants. CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets have helped me do just that and I now find them invaluable during major infestations.
CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets is a neonicotinoid class of systemic insecticide. Each tablet contains a 12-9-4 fertilizer as well as the active ingredient of 20% Imidicloprid. Imidicloprid is the same active ingredient found in other popular insecticides like Merit and Bayer 12 Month Tree & Shrub.
Ease of Use: When it comes to an insecticide that a homeowner can buy, there are few that are as easy to use right out of the package as CoreTect. In most cases insecticide usage involves mixing a solution in water and carting the bucket, watering can or spray bottle to the treatment area. If you are using a systemic like Imidicloprid, that can involve many trips between the water faucet and all the plants you need to treat. With CoreTect Tree and Shrub it is just a small 2.5-gram round tablet. No mixing or preparation required.
The recommended dosage is 2-3 tablets per inch trunk diameter or foot of shrub height. Treating a plant is as easy as looking at how large the trunk of the plant needing treatment is, dumping out a few CoreTect Tree and Shrub tablets into your hand and then using a gloved finger to push the tablets under the mulch or into the ground. Finally, just make sure the plant receives regular irrigation for a few months after putting the tablets down. It’s just that easy.
Effectiveness: Of course “ease of use” is irrelevant if the effectiveness is poor. As a systemic insecticide translocated throughout the plant’s vascular system, Imidicloprid is effective against insects that suck or chew shrubs and trees as a means to feed. Who are the intended targets of CoreTect Tree and Shrub tablets? Adelgids, aphids, Japanese beetles (adults), flatheaded borers, lace bugs, leaf beetles, leafminers, leafhoppers, mealybugs, pine tip moth larvae, psyllids, roundheaded borers, royal palm bugs, sawfly larvae, soft scales, whiteflies. Except for thrips and mites (not an insect), it kills all the usual suspects that like to wreak havoc in your garden.
Some may point out that the Bayer 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed they buy at Home Depot also kills the same insects. This is indeed true. But I have found it to be much less effective and it certainly won’t protect for nearly as long. The main reason being in the percentages of active ingredients. CoreTect has Imidicloprid at 20% while Bayer 12 Month Tree & Shrub has Imidicloprid at just 1.47%. That is a huge difference.
While the fertilizer in the tablets is nice, it isn’t a factor I take into consideration when buying the product. I have my own fertilization regimen that I stick to. So for me the only reason I use CoreTect is for the insect control thanks to the systemic properties of Imidicloprid at 20%. With that being said, Bayer really likes to push the idea that CoreTect also has health-promoting properties that make plants stronger, healthier and more resistant to environmental stress in its marketing. To be more precise, here is what Bayer states:
What does this really mean? Nothing more than what we already know as gardeners. That a happy plant growing under ideal conditions and free from infestation or disease will be much better prepared to handle the many stressors they can see throughout a growing season. So yes, in a round-about way, CoreTect will have health-promoting properties that make plants stronger. However, we can of course achieve this without CoreTect as well. My point again? You are buying CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets for the convenience and highly effective insect-killing 20% Imidicloprid.
If you choose to use CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets regularly, you will need to make sure that you change out your treatment every so often with another option. I can attest to the dangers of not following an integrated pest management approach. I once became so reliant on the CoreTect tablets in my greenhouse while battling a nasty mealy bug infestation found in the caudex of some tropical cycads that I didn’t alternate the treatment. Eventually I ended up with mealybugs that were resistant to the Imidicloprid. The chances of this happening outside in your garden are far less than it happens in a greenhouse. Still, proper pest management always includes the use of alternations and rotations of insecticides with different modes of action. Don’t rely on just CoreTect tablets for your treatment or you could end up with a much less effective product.
Longevity: CoreTect advertises that it will in some cases provide control of insects for up to two years. When I first started using CoreTect I figured that was just marketing BS. I can happily confirm that is not the case. I mainly use CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets on my 70+ tropical hibiscus I have planted in my garden. Tropical hibiscus are notorious for getting aphid, mealy bug and whitefly infestations in Southern California. After placing the recommended dosage down on each hibiscus plant, I won’t see those insects on my plants again for at least a year. In some cases I can make it two growing seasons without inoculating them again. Regular whitefly infestations like seen below are now a thing of the past.
Going off the price I pay for a 250-tablet bottle of CoreTect, I put the cost at only $1.30 per inch of plant. That is extremely cost-effective when you take into account how long it protects the plant. It is cheaper than using Bayer 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect and having to reapply every few months.
Conclusion: For me there is no better way to easily, conveniently, and cost-effectively protect my plants from a regular insect infestation some plants just seem prone to. In an ideal world our pest management would be integrated and options would only be limited to a biological or some other natural means of control. Unfortunately, there are times in our garden when things are not ideal and for whatever reason we need to look towards more aggressive treatments like those found in chemical pesticides. My beef with chemical pesticides is that I believe they can create a lazy gardener. This review isn’t meant to get you to go out and buy a few bottles of CoreTect and put it down around all your plants. Instead it is meant to provide you insight into an amazing product that should only be used as a last-ditch effort to stop a major infestation when it would appear the only other option is to rip the plant out.
Right now Neonicotinoids have a bad name for many in the gardening community because of their relationship with the honey bee. While it is true that Neonicotinoids do vary in their toxicity to honey bees, it is important to understand that it has been proven that Neonicotinoids are not the actual cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. Just realize that Neonicotinoids are no different then any other “insecticide.” They all kill insects. And that does mean the honey bee if it comes into contact. So please use CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets responsibly.
Purchase: If you are looking to buy, here is the least expensive place I have found online to purchase Coretect Tree & Shrub Tablets.
Note: Bayer (the makers of CoreTect Tree and Shrub Tablets) did not have any involvement on this review and I have not been compensated in anyway for writing it.