Michael Roe says Obtego not only helps with root rot on nandinas (pictured) and other crops, but also grows greener, healthier plants overall.
photo courtesy of Michael Roe

Obtego® is an OMRI certified fungicide and plant symbiont that functions as a multi-pronged tool by both protecting the plant from soil-borne pathogens and enhancing root growth. Obtego contains two unique fungi-based active ingredients that are effective against Pythium spp., Phytophthora spp., Rhizoctonia spp. and others.

Obtego and plant roots live in a mutually beneficial symbiosis, according to SePRO. As Obtego colonizes the root system, the fungi promote competition and parasitism of the plant-damaging pathogens, in addition to stimulating a robust root system.

Additionally, Obtego can be used on all ornamental crops and a variety of fruits and vegetable, including berries, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables like eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, as well as leafy vegetables and herbs.

The Obtego label is available here. For grower testimonials on how Obtego helps improve plant production, visit here.

Optimizing Obtego

Obtego became the first fungicide and plant symbiont introduced to the U.S. market when it debuted in 2019. Since it has been integral in allowing growers to continue to produce crops that are easily descimated by soil-borne diseases.

According to Butch Norris, the head grower and supervisor at Darrell Norris & Son Greenhouses in Ohio, the operation almost stopped growing a key crop — vincas — due to various production issues. Most common among them was rotting leaves due to Pythium.

When Norris and the rest of his growing team began using Obtego, he says they immediately began seeing positive results. Once they started using the product, he said they hardly suffered any plant loss.

“The year before, I dumped several trays of vinca, but this year I only dumped a handful and that was due to where it was grown [in a greenhouse that was too humid],” Norris says, noting that he also didn’t use Obtego on those crops. “It was a major turnaround for us and I know Obtego is the reason,” Norris says.”

He adds that Obtego changed the way he approaches growing vincas — a crop he had several years of experience with before finding success with Obtego. In previous years, he would separate vincas from other plants to grow them differently from the rest of the greenhouses. That separation process, he says, added significantly more labor to the production cycle and limited the return the operation could get from growing the plants.

Jen DeVere from Casa Verde Growers says Obtego encourages root growth in crops such as these vinca in quart pots.
photos courtesy of Jen DeVere

Now, with Obtego, Norris is able to grow vincas under the same conditions along with the rest of the greenhouse’s crops. That also helps them grow faster, he says.

“We also use Obtego on lantana, sweet potato vine and verbena,” Norris adds. “We’ve noticed improvements on those crops too.”

Jen DeVere, a section grower at Case Verde Growers Ohio, has also had trouble producing vincas for the same reasons Norris did. In using Obtego, which she calls a “one and done” product because it solves several problems at once, she knows that she’s found the right solution.

“I like it because it’s going to help encourage root growth. I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” DeVere says. “It helps keep the plant healthy — healthy roots, healthy plant. It’s going to start building a healthy plant from the ground up and that’s the first building block.”

Left plants are treated with Obtego, right are untreated.
photo courtesy of Mark Brotherton

How to properly integrate Obtego

One step growers should consider when first incorporating Obtego is to test it against the fungicides they are currently using or are considering using in the near future. DeVere, for instance, ran trials using Obtego for poinsettia production before beginning to incorporate it into overall production and see the benefits all over the greenhouse. That way, growers can come to understand how it can improve their production and make healthier plants.

Growers also must decide what application method is best for their operation. According to SePRO, application methods for the product include a drench, dip, growing media incorporation and chemigation. This application versatility is another way that Obtego is designed to be easy to use for growers.

The product can be used in different stages of the growing cycle, too. Growers such as DeVere and Michael Roe, the vice president of production at Windmill Nursery in Louisiana, sometimes apply it later on in production and that has yielded them some promising results.

Other growers, such as Tim Kloosterman from Kloosterman Greenhouses in Michigan, start using Obtego early on in the growing cycle to get plants healthy from the get go and keep them that way. DeVere also recommends using it early in the production as well, noting that it helps promote and stimulant health root growth.

“Obtego controls both Rhizoctonia and Pythium and helps establish and enhance root growth. When poinsettias (and other crops for that matter) can be tough to root and establish, Obtego should be a very beneficial addition to a grower’s arsenal of tools.”

Some operations even use the product as a preventative to prevent losses at key points in the growing cycle.

“The preventative nature of the product is really key for us,” says Scott Reeves, a grower at Creekside Nursery in Texas. “We’ve used it when growing farfugium and succulents, and it’s stopped a lot of the losses we’ve had.”

Obtego is a trademark of SePRO Corporation.