MitoGrow Company History: 2017-2018

The Beginning

In the late 1990s, Don W. Smith, Ph.D., developed and patented a fertilizer and IBA application process in response to the rapid decline of Post Oaks. His company treated countless trees across Texas. Dr. Smith based his product on the hypothesis that the increased nutrients and bolus of IBA would force trees back into a positive growth cycle by stimulating mitosis. In 2016, the company gained the attention of the founders of MitoGrow who then acquired the IP from Dr. Smith.

MitoGrow officially launched in 2017, and began working with arborists to add its new products to their current fertilizing treatments. MitoGrow products were user friendly and trees that had once been written off as too far gone, were producing new growth and bouncing back.

Landscapers and other tree care companies in Arizona, California, Texas and Florida began applying the products to boost the growth in the trees and plants they were managing.

The original product formulation of IBA with fertilizer had significant state reporting and EPA registration requirements, thus an alternative delivery method in the form of a pellet was created in June 2017. MitoGrow began the EPA registration process for this pellet in September of the same year.

MitoGrow Fertilizer Treatment
MitoGrow Pellets displayed in a bowl

EPA Challenges Pellet Product

In mid-2018, MitoGrow developed similar pellet products with lower concentrations of IBA and vitamins B1, B3 and B6, along with mycorrhizal inoculants, in an organic carrier that contained seaweed in addition to alfalfa. All versions of the pellet product have been marketed under the vitamin-hormone exemption from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), a United States federal law.

The EPA challenged the pellet product’s labeling under the exemption, but after review accepted that the exemption to FIFRA did in fact apply.

On August 8, 2018, the U.S. EPA issued a Notice of Pesticide Registration No. 93363-1 for MitoGrow’s pellet product with a 10% concentration. This product was a combination of IBA and vitamin B1 in an organic carrier consisting mostly of alfalfa. The product was designed to be blended with granular fertilizer, potting media or added to soil backfill for tree and landscape plantings.


With EPA approval, the 10% pellet could now be used on food crops. Due to changes in MitoGrow’s corporate strategy after the registration process had been initiated, MitoGrow never manufactured or marketed this product, but still maintains the registration.

The pellet product was producing positive growth enhancing results in university and contracted trials. As the product was sold, MitoGrow also began to receive anecdotal reports from customers that trees receiving MitoGrow pellets with a fertilizer program were recovering from persistent fungal diseases. Additionally, Louisiana Tech University noted an obvious resistance to a whitefly infestation in treated versus untreated plants in their greenhouse. MitoGrow was intrigued by these reported health enhancing effects.

MitoGrow Develops New Product

The arbor care industry’s preferences for liquid injection, drenching and liquid fertilizers, led MitoGrow to formulate a new biostimulant, powder product, MitoGrow Aqua. Even though the pellet product was showing much success, it was difficult to get arbor care specialists to switch to our method of delivery for the pellets. With this change in company product, MitoGrow hired leading industry consultants to conduct numerous research trials and develop a new sales strategy leveraging the results.

MitoGrow Aqua delivers the same benefits as the pellet formulation in a faster, easier-to-use water-soluble concentrate. The product was designed to be distributed via drench, chemigation, deep root injection or drip irrigation systems. It also still offers users the ability to blend it with a solid fertilizer. MitoGrow Aqua also contains sea kelp extract and rhizome bacteria. The bulking agent, maltodextrin, provides a quick growth boost to the mycorrhizae and bacteria.

MitoGrow Aqua is not a fertilizer, but instead uses biostimulants to stimulate the plant’s natural metabolism and the microorganisms in the rhizosphere to increase the plant’s ability to acquire nutrients. University, in-house and independent contract studies have shown that Aqua:

✓ Enhances root growth and increases root mass

✓ Improves plant resistance to disease

✓ Supports a healthy soil biome and overall plant health

✓ Improves resistance to water stress

✓ Promotes more efficient water and nutrient absorption

Not only will growers benefit from lower fertilizer requirements, and the environment from less nutrient runoff, but Aqua can also be used where water availability and distribution are problematic. This powder product easily mixes with water, liquid and dry fertilizers, potting media and soil backfill. Being a dry powder, Aqua does not suffer the disadvantages of liquid products, such as, leakage, high shipping costs and reduced shelf life.

Within two years of launching the company, MitoGrow began receiving product supply agreement interests from a larger agriculture company focusing on the tree care industry. It was at this time MitoGrow made a company decision to shift its focus specifically to tree crops and industrial hemp.