Optogen®- a new herbicide available in select vegetables and strawberry. – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Optogen®- a new herbicide available in select vegetables and strawberry.


What is Optogen®?

The active ingredient in Optogen® (Figure 1) is bicyclopyrone. Corn growers may recognize bicyclopyrone as one of the four herbicide ingredients in Acuron® herbicide. Bicyclopyrone is a Group 27 herbicide with both pre-emergence and post-emergence activity on select weed species. Group 27 herbicides inhibit an enzyme known as “HPPD”, resulting in an inhibition of carotenoid synthesis. Ultimately, symptomatic plants exhibit “bleaching” injury (white plant tissues) (Figure 2). For many of the registered crops, this is the only Group 27 herbicide labeled. Rotating among herbicide Groups is one way to slow the onset of herbicide resistance.

Figure 2. Mild and temporary Optogen® bleaching symptoms on a watermelon leaf.

Figure 2. Mild and temporary Optogen® bleaching symptoms on a watermelon leaf.

On what crops can Optogen® be used?

The current label includes broccoli, garlic, horseradish, onion (muck soils only), strawberry, sweetpotato, and watermelon. It is anticipated that additional crops will be added in the coming years.

Important Notes:

Applications made to emerged weeds should target weed 2” tall or less and include a non-ionic surfactant or crop oil concentrate.

Applications made to row middles should be directed or applied with a hooded sprayer to keep the herbicide off of the crop.

What weeds are controlled by Optogen®?

Optogen® is supposed to provide control of pigweeds, velvetleaf, common ragweed, eastern black nightshade, and lambsquarters. Partial control of numerous other weed species is also expected. Like most herbicides, Optogen® will work best in an integrated weed management program. For example, in 2022 research trials, we used Optogen® as a layby application in plasticulture-grown watermelon. This followed a preplant application of Chateau® and Dual Magnum® (Figure 3). This combination of herbicides resulted in excellent control of pigweeds, velvetleaf, and annual grasses.

As with any new herbicide, it is best to avoid making whole-farm changes until you have experience with how the product fits into your production system and with the cultivars you grow.

For more information, consult the product label (Print (cdms.net)) or the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (mwveguide.org). The release of this product was after the printing of the most recent Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide.

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