As hard-pressed growers, it may well be a product that ticks all the boxes. So much so, it becomes a kind of surrogate friend. Something to love and cherish, if not entirely obey.
So it is with Ronstar, particularly Ronstar 2G, the truly wondrous residual herbicide that we seem destined to lose. If ever a chemical is deserving of such accolades, it is this one. With its broad reach, lengthy persistence and user friendliness, it has become the go-to product for those involved in nursery stock and amenity weed control.
The impending loss of Ronstar products will blow an almighty hole through many herbicide programmes and for advisers like me, coughing up easy alternatives to control weeds will be a nightmare. Truth be told, it has been for a while, given the loss of so many trusted friends down the years — Casoron G, Dacthal, Gramoxone, Tenoran, Enide 50W.
Its departure, I understand, is due to the costs of generating new data now necessary for re-registration of the active ingredient (oxadiazon) at EU level. Demonstrating the environmental fate of such materials both in soil and water is difficult and costly — too costly it seems for Ronstar to survive, despite the industry shifting shed loads each year.
Of course, there are non-chemical options, but they are not quite the same. Not, dare I suggest, quite as toxic or threatening in a naughty-but-nice way. Not quite as effective either, however much we dress them up. Not that Ronstar is naughty or threatening, quite the opposite, and therein lies its appeal. It gets the job done with little fuss. Put simply, it’s not your average drama queen.
Having grown up with Ronstar throughout my nursery stock life — I remember trialling it at Hilliers and with Margaret Scott at Efford following its success in the States — I shall truly miss it. I live in hope that some kind commercial soul with long arms and deep pockets will step forward to save it.
Andrew Hewson is a freelance writer and columnist