Bonide Tree & Shrub Drench

Bonide Tree & Shrub Systemic Drench is an insecticide that is drenched around the base of a tree or shrub using a watering can. It has systemic action, which means it is absorbed through the roots and taken up into the crown of the plant, killing insects, and making the plant poisonous to insects that may attack later on.

Helpful Links Regarding Pesticides:

How to Use Pesticides Safely & Effectively
Our Pesticide Disclaimer for Controversial Products & Pollinators

How to Use & When to Apply:

This chemical is suitable for situations where insects are attacking the canopy of the tree that is unreachable, or for situations where insects are attacking the inner portions of the trunk that are also unreachable by a foliar spray. The active ingredient imidicloprid is systemic, meaning once applied and absorbed by the roots it is taken through the vascular system to the entire tree, making it poisonous to insects.

Bonide Tree & Shrub Systemic Drench is used by mixing the chemical in water and drenching around the base of the plant. To use, simply measure the circumference of the tree. Use 1 ounce of chemical in 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of circumference. Thoroughly wet the soil starting from the base of the tree and work outward until the watering can is empty and you’ve used the correct amount of chemical.

Note that it is possible to spray this chemical onto the leaves of the target plant, but in our experience the product is more effective when drenched.

Use Bonide Tree & Shrub Systemic Drench on a mild day when the soil is relatively dry. Try not to apply in the heat of the summer, but you also do not want to drench when soil is saturated since the tree will need need to be ready and able to absorb the water.

Pollinating insects can be affected by this product if used improperly–please see comments below in the “Cons” section.

Pros to Using Bonide Tree & Shrub Drench

  • Easy to use simply by mixing with water in a watering can. A simple drench application is all it takes!
  • Enables gardeners to control insects that are high in the canopy of trees that are otherwise unreachable by spraying.
  • Control lasts for up to 12 months–only necessary to apply once per year.
  • Kills difficult insects such as borers (including emerald ash borer), leaf miners, hemlock wooly adelgid, lanternfly, and Japanese beetles. Also controls a multitude of other insects that attack trees and shrubs.

Cons to Using Bonide Tree & Shrub Drench

  • This product CANNOT be used when plants are in flower or will soon be in flower. The active ingredient imidicloprid essentially makes plant leaves poisonous and will kill insects who are active in or on the leaves. The chemical can also find its way into flowers, which is dangerous to bees and pollinators. 

When used on plants that are wind pollinated or when used properly on plants that are not in bloom/will not be in bloom soon, it is safe to use. 

But you need to be very careful with this product to use it properly and safely in order to be environmentally friendly for our pollinating insects. Do not drench when plants are in bloom!

  • Because of the difficulty with pollinators, the state of Maryland has actually banned the use of this chemical by homeowners (or anyone without a pesticide license). It is our view that this law has merit, but is probably a bit overprotective. When used properly and on plants that are not/will not soon be in flower, it is a chemical that can be helpful when trying to control insects that are inside the tree or high in the canopy where sprays cannot reach. This is an important chemical because it is one of the only ones that homeowners had to help control emerald ash borer and lanternfly–both extremely destructive pests. However, tree companies can still use this active ingredient so if you are in Maryland or another state who has banned the chemical, you still have options.

Available Sizes:

Helpful Link: How to Use Pesticides in Their Various Forms


Bonide Tree & Shrub Concentrate comes in two different sizes: 32 ounces and 1 gallon (128 ounce). For larger trees, the gallon size is preferable because bigger trees can have an enormous circumference! 

Recommended by Matt

Hello and welcome! I'm Matt and I started Mid Atlantic Gardening to help gardeners in the Mid Atlantic (and beyond!) with their lawn and garden problems and issues.

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