Biological control of weeds in turfgrass is the equivalent of the holy grail in lawn care, the reason why a new bio-herbicide from Scotts may be the next big thing. Karen L. Bailey, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon, and Scotts Canada are in the registration process for a product based on the fungus phoma macrostoma. The product will be granular and can be used as a pre-emergent and a post-emergent. When applied to the soil, the product blocks chlorophyll synthesis, which kills emerging seedlings and adversely affects established weeds.
Any effective and affordable biological herbicide would be welcomed with open arms, especially in Canada where much of the
country has banned the use of synthetic pesticides on landscapes by professional applicators.
This past season they got some help with the release of Sarritor, a biological developed by Dr. Alan Watson of McGill University.
The biological agent in this product is also a fungus. It was approved by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada in 2007.
Click on the headline to see the patent application for phoma macrostoma. —Ron Hall