Bill McNitt, owner of McNitt Growers, buys his plugs for production from other growers. As a bedding plant, hanging basket and vegetable starts grower for independent garden centers and specialty retailers, he’s frequently bringing in many different varieties in January and February.
There can be a heightened risk of disease when plugs come from another operation, so McNitt uses fungicides as a preventative measure to protect his young plants from root rot diseases and Botrytis during those early stages of production.
When he discovered that OHP was trialing Triathlon BA, a new biofungicide labeled for organic and non-organic production, he decided to test it in his operation in the summer of 2015. He immediately noticed a handful of benefits.
“The big thing is the four-hour REI [restricted entry interval],” McNitt says. “It has a really broad spectrum [and] it’s reasonably priced.” Additionally, the product is compatible with his current rotation.
And not only does it help with root rot and Botrytis issues, but Triathlon BA fights against powdery mildew in his greenhouse. Triathlon BA also offers control for Pythium, Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia, according to OHP’s website.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to McNitt Growers is that Triathlon BA can be used for both ornamental and edible crops as an OMRI-listed product. At McNitt Growers, the team works to produce strawberry plugs during the fall season, so it’s helpful for McNitt to be able to use the same product.
Triathlon BA is also safe for his plants, McNitt says. “Some of the fungicides I’ve used for root rot problems can be pretty harsh. You can burn roots and you have [phytoxicity] problems,” he adds. “And you don’t have that with Triathlon BA.”
McNitt says he had the opportunity to trial the product beforehand because of his strong business relationship with OHP. He’s worked with the company since the mid-’90s and he’s stuck with them for two main reasons: the diverse product range OHP offers and their readily available technical assistance.
Because McNitt grows many different types of plants throughout the year and several issues can arise, having a product that can address so many needs is beneficial for McNitt and his team. Pest and disease issues can also be complex (and develop quickly), so having a responsive technical team is also a big benefit. “If I have questions, I have somebody I can call for support,” he says. — Cassie Neiden