Whether it’s clients pressuring them or budget constraints making them feel the pinch, lawn care operators are constantly under pressure to do more with less.

Combining multiple modes of action in one product formulation helps LCOs maximize their time while keeping clients happy by controlling all of their weeds.

Ken Hutto, technical service manager for the north half of the country—everything from Maine to Hawaii—for FMC, works closely with product development managers to place commercialized products into university research trials. He also provides technical support for FMC’s market specialists. Here, he talks about the innovation of the company’s Solitare herbicide.

TURF: Please share a brief history of the development of Solitare herbicide.

Hutto: Our product Dismiss herbicide is a postemergence product with sulfentrazone as the active ingredient, which is effective on nutsedge and kyllinga. It also has some broadleaf weed activity.

But customers told us they needed better options for controlling crabgrass. As FMC is a customer-driven company, that led us to combine quinclorac with sulfentrazone to produce Solitare. A combination product, Solitare still maintains the level of nutsedge and kyllinga control that you get with Dismiss, but also provides effective crabgrass and broadleaf control.

TURF: This past summer FMC introduced Solitaire as a water soluble liquid (Solitaire WSL). What does that mean for applicators?

Hutto: Solitare WSL goes into solution easily and reduces the amount of agitation you need, which makes it much more user-friendly for applicators using backpacks or ride-on sprayers.

TURF: More of these “combo” products with multiple actives are coming into the market. Why?

Hutto: By combining multiple modes of action in one formulation you broaden a product’s spectrum of control. Turf managers are constantly under pressure, whether it be from their clients or budget constraints, to do more with less. Combination products can help reduce those constraints.

TURF: Let’s talk turf weed control in general. What advice would you share with lawn care pros to get the most value from any herbicide they use?

Hutto: The first thing is to identify the weeds you are trying to control. Understanding the most effective time to control the target weeds is important especially for preemergence herbicides. Most preemergence herbicides must be applied prior to weeds emerging. With postemergence herbicides like Solitare WSL, applying at a particular growth stage of the target weed improves control.

For example, fall is the most effective time to apply Solitare for wild violet control. In the fall, perennial weeds begin to store up carbohydrates in their roots so they have an energy reserve for spring emergence. Wild violet is more susceptible to Solitare in the fall than in summer.

Correct weed identification and establishing a competitive turfgrass must be the foundation for an effective weed control program.

TURF: Herbicide resistance is becoming an issue in golf turf, and some lawn care pros are becoming concerned, as well. Can you share a thought or two on what they can do to reduce the risk of herbicide resistance?

Hutto: Always use labeled rates of herbicides. Any time you use an herbicide below the labeled rate, in my opinion you are basically spoon-feeding the development of resistance. Research studies suggest if you rotate chemistries with different modes of action you will reduce or prolong the likelihood of resistance development.

Finally, this past year FMC made a $1.8 billion investment in buying Danish chemical company Cheminova. What does that mean for our industry?

That has been really exciting. Acquiring Cheminova expanded our company dramatically from a global standpoint and provides a nice extension to our product pipeline. We are very excited about all the different possibilities for development — whether these possibilities are herbicides, insecticides or fungicides.