Nursery Management: What can you tell us about OHP’s new herbicide, Fuerte?
Dave Barcel: It’s a new pre-emergent herbicide. In Spanish, it means strong. We’ve been conducting research on it for the past few years and we’ve received federal and state registrations. We anticipate having the product on the market in the third quarter. Fuerte is a granular product and it’s geared toward use with woody ornamentals.
NM: What else makes Fuerte important to the market?
DB: It contains two well-recognized active ingredients that have been on the market, which are the mode of action (MOA) groups 14 and 3.
NM: How does Fuerte help growers save money and increase profits?
DB: The intent of this product is to prevent weed development. If a grower is not able to prevent weeds, he has to send a crew to hand weed the containers. Hand weeding labor costs are extremely expensive compared to the costs of herbicides, and that’s a recognized fact in the industry. Also, because Fuerte has a very broad spectrum — a combination of two active ingredients — it’s effective against a number of broadleaf weeds and grassy-type weeds.
NM: Why is it important to rotate herbicides?
DB: Just like with insecticides and fungicides, it’s important for growers to rotate their MOA groups because it falls under that category of resistance management. You hear about it with insecticides and fungicides much more than you do with weeds, but all weed scientists agree that rotating herbicide classes is important. The classic herbicide that has the well-documented resistance problems right now is glyphosate. There’s a number of weeds that are resistant to it, one of which is Amaranthus or pig weed. In order to prevent weed resistance, you need to rotate your MOA groups with herbicides. A grower should be mindful of that to make sure they don’t develop resistance issues.
NM: How should growers rotate Fuerte in their weed control program?
DB: To the point of herbicide rotation, one product that would make a good rotation for a grower starting out is Fortress, and then rotating into the product Fuerte toward summertime. The reason I suggest Fortress is because it tends to be softer, so on newly potted or younger material, Fortress would have the safety on that type of plant material and then as the plants get a little larger and vigorous, growers can switch over to Fuerte, which has a little more punch to it as an herbicide. Afterwards, growers can finish the year off with Biathlon. That would be three of the OHP herbicides worthy of consideration for a grower to get them through the season.