By: Jim Black, Business Director
If there’s a way to keep pests and diseases from challenging your plants from the start, why wait until there’s an issue to make an application?
Using the right biological products early can provide preventative protection, allowing plants to focus their valuable energy on growth and development rather than fending off threats when they’re most vulnerable.
Organic producers need access to a variety of tools to protect food-grade crops and keep business growing. Biopesticides provide safe and effective options that don’t harm beneficial predatory insects used in many integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.
Biologicals help conventional growers avoid resistance issues and enhance the effectiveness of current strategies. Since many synthetic crop protection products have maximum application levels and longer re-entry intervals, biologicals can help bridge the gap between applications with fewer limitations and no residue exemptions. Plus they’re extremely safe to handle.
The Ideal Pair
Two products we recommend greenhouse and nursery operators apply early for defense against pests and diseases are BotaniGard® and SoilGard®. One delivers effective broad-spectrum protection from key pests such as thrips, whiteflies and aphids, while the other helps stop diseases like pythium and rhizoctonia from forming. Both are preventative products and work best when applied as early as possible to help plants reach their full potential.
As an operator, you may be familiar with these products, but do you know how they work, why they’re so effective and how to make sure you are getting the most out of each application? Here’s why BotaniGard and SoilGard make excellent proactive partners for greenhouses and nurseries.
BotaniGard is a mycoinsecticide that contains Beauveria bassiana (Bb) spores. These spores directly infect pests and germinate to produce enzymes that dissolve the insect cuticle, destroying it from the inside out. BotaniGard typically infiltrates targeted pests 16-24 hours after application and eliminates them within five days.
While BotaniGard products are not OMRI-certified, they are safe products to handle and can be used in both organic and conventional crop protection programs. Each formula offers unique advantages for different conditions and growth stages.
- BotaniGard 22WP is a wettable powder, which makes it a great choice to use on sensitive crops and seedlings.
- BotaniGard ES contains an oil dispersant, which helps make it rainfast more quickly and is an excellent choice for ornamentals and crops grown outdoors.
- BotaniGard Maxx contains Bbspores as well as phyrethrins, which disrupt the ion exchange in the insect’s nervous system to control movement. This dual activity delivers both prevention and knockdown of pest.
No matter which formula you choose, early application and coverage are key. Be sure to coat the top of the leaf, underside of the leaf and the pest well with every application. BotaniGard products can be tank mixed with many organic and conventional products. Just avoid blending it with fungicides since it’s also a spore-based product.
SoilGard Microbial Fungicide
SoilGard is an OMRI-certified microbial fungicide that is no stranger to many in the industry. It has a proven track record of helping plants get a clean start to the growing season for more than three decades.
The secret to its success is the way it’s grown. Unlike other microbial fungicides, which grow on solid substrates, SoilGard’s G. virens conidia spores are produced in a liquid environment. These spores are especially effective at colonizing soil and producing gliotoxins that keep diseases like pythium, rhizoctonia and fusarium from forming.
You can get the most out of each application by using it early in the growing cycle and incorporating it throughout the planting media. This helps it form a protective barrier around each plant as it grows. When possible, allow the treated soil or media to incubate for one day prior to planting. See the label to learn more about application rates and timing.
If you’re currently evaluating your IPM program and want to take a more proactive approach to protection, it may be time to give BotaniGard and SoilGard a try. Talk to your Certis representative now through December 15, 2023, about how you can get a free case of SoilGard for every five cases of BotaniGard products you purchase. Learn about this offer.
Explore our full portfolio of greenhouse products and let us know how we can help your business grow further.