What is Sakura?

Sakura is a very effective pre-emergence herbicide for the control or suppression of a wide range of yield limiting grass weeds in wheat (not durum wheat) and triticale.

Sakura was introduced in New Zealand in 2019 following many years of successful use in Australia where it has become the standard herbicide for the control of annual ryegrass.

Sakura is now rapidly becoming established in New Zealand for the control of both perennial and annual ryegrass, vulpia hairgrass and annual poa.

Sakura contains pyroxasulfone, a Group K3 herbicide. This brings a new mode of action for the control of ryegrass species and the suppression of ripgut brome and wild oats.

Sakura kills weeds by disrupting the synthesis of very long-chain fatty acids with the main site of uptake being the plant’s roots. These fatty acids are critical for healthy growth.

Weeds controlled

Grass weeds controlled Grass weeds suppressed
Perennial ryegrass Ripgut brome
Annual ryegrass Wild oats
Vulpia hairgrass Prairie grass
Annual poa
Soft brome
Barley grass

For more information please read the Sakura User Guide 

Getting the best from Sakura

There are a few simple steps to take to optimise the grass weed control of Sakura.

Taking care with seedbed preparation

As Sakura only controls grass weeds that germinate within the herbicide zone it is important to ensure weed seeds remain near the soil surface and are not dispersed throughout the soil profile.

Create a fine, firm seedbed as this allows good herbicide movement through the moisture film surrounding the soil particles and ensures good seed / soil contact.

Minimise soil clods as these shield the soil from Sakura. It often possible to see weeds germinating from the shelter of clods. Clods also break down during the winter releasing weed seed which has not been exposed to Sakura.

Also minimise trash as this can physically prevent Sakura reaching the soil surface thereby reducing the level of weed control achieved.

The importance of adequate soil moisture

When applied to the soil surface Sakura needs to move into the soil profile where it is available by uptake by the roots of germinating weed seeds. To do this it needs adequate moisture.

Observations under New Zealand conditions have shown that Sakura requires approximately 15-25 mm rainfall over a 1-2 day period shortly after application or a similar amount applied by irrigation. It is important that the rainfall isn’t too intense as this can take Sakura below the weed zone, especially in light soils.

Without sufficient rainfall soon after application to move Sakura into the weed root zone grass weeds can germinate and grow within the crop. However, when sufficient rainfall does occur, competition from young weed seedlings can still be reduced by Sakura through the inhibition of grass weed growth and reduced root development (“root pruning”).

For more information please read the Sakura User Guide


Sakura has a registered rate range of 125 – 150 g/ha.

The 125 g/ha rate is recommended for the control of weeds when conditions favour the herbicide (adequate soil moisture, weed populations are moderate, easier to control species e.g. Ryegrass, vulpia hairgrass or annual poa are the main targets).

The 150 g/ha rate is recommended when grass weeds present a greater challenge (drier soils, presence of trash, higher weed populations, harder to control weeds e.g. wild oats or ripgut brome).

To see the impact of dose rate, view the results of Bayer’s 2020 trials

The need for herbicide programmes

There are always situations when a single application of Sakura applied pre-emergence will provide season long control, but these are the exception.

In fact, the need to apply herbicide programmes of more than one herbicide application, especially for the control of ryegrass, bromes, wild oats and weeds which germinate over a prolonged period, has been accepted for many years. To see the value of herbicide programmes, view the results of Bayer’s 2020 trials.