Game Changer? New Selective Weed Control Hits Market
We’ve been waiting for this behind the scenes for at least two years, ever since I met a representative of Neudorff North America at a Garden Writers Convention in Portland, Oregon. In what could be — and I stress Could Be — a game changer in the organic lawn marketplace, that company has released a selective herbicide for broadleaf weeds known as Fiesta that is based on a naturally occurring iron. No 2,4-D. No Dicamba, or any of the other harsh chemicals.
I just received the word from my contact at Neudorff this afternoon and the product is still awaiting licensing clearance in New York, California and a few other states, but I did find it available for sale online in a quick search.
The company’s official description makes the product sound like the Holy Grail: “a fast-acting selective bio-rationale herbicide for the control of dandelions, narrow leaf plantain and a host of other major lawn weeds.” The active ingredient in FIESTA is iron in the form of iron chelate, otherwise known as Hydroxyethyl Ethylenediamine Triacetic Acid.
Now here’s the bad news: The exclusive licensing agent in the United States, at least for 2010, is Scotts Miracle-Gro, which will sell the new weed killer under its Ortho EcoSense brand.
Interestingly, Scotts isn’t exactly blowing its own horn on this one, at least not yet. Last year, when Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn spoke with Wendy Bounds of the Wall Street Journal, he never even mentioned this technology — perhaps because Scotts is trying to develop its own competitive technology that it hopes to own outright. The fact that Scotts has to license this product from Neudorff, thereby sharing the profits, could be tainting its marketing. Or, maybe the company is just waiting for megastates California and New York to come on line.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how this product takes hold and how it is received by the organic community. It isn’t hitting the street as an organically certified product. If anyone has any experience with this, or opinions, we’d love to hear them. In the meantime, we’ll do some testing and more research and see what we find out.