Beets for weed Control?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by dan deutekom, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Well it finally happened and I have orders from above that I am no longer allowed to use any products that contain 24d. I do not want to get in a debate about this because it has been debated in nauseum. I am now faced with having to go "chemical free" and I am willing to try. (because I have to) The powers to be have decreed that I am to use corn gluten (which has lot's of information on the net) and a product that is comprised of a combination of molasses, soybean oil, and a sugar beet extract. I can not find any information about this stuff or how it is used. It almost sounds like the stuff they spray on gravel roads to hold down the dust. I want to go into this with an open mind (difficult) and would like opinions and information both good and bad and cost effectiveness. I have 20 acres of high quality turf to care for. The floor is open for discussion.
  2. ToniDavies

    ToniDavies Sponsor
    Messages: 140

    Hello, good luck on your new quest. We have been in the sprayer business since 1914 and you may find this site very helpfull they have quite a bit of information on what you are looking for.
    Enjoy, Toni Davies @ Rittenhouse Sprayers
  3. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Thanks Toni.

    I have dealt with Rittenhouse on numerous occassions over the last 20 odd years having been in the greenhouse and landscape industry. I have used many of your sprayers and I always reccomend your company for sprayers and other horticultural equipment. I have a lot of number crunching to do to see if this material is economically viable and can be worked into the turf budget.

    Dan :D
  4. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Hi Dan

    Where to start? I am sorry to hear about this situation you find yourself in. While it goes against my instincts to not attack the politically charged anti-pesticide mess up there, I'll try to shed what light I can on this non-chemical weed control issue, without my usual soapbox rhetoric.

    The molasses/soybean oil/beet extract you mentioned is a patent pending 7-0-7 organic based fertilizer. It has no herbicidal properties that I can think of. The patent application owner is going to market it in Canada for political (not scientific) reasons. The marketing concept isn't new or unique. We've all been doing this, knowingly or not, for years. The concept involves producing healthy turf that will outperform weeds. This certainly isn't news, is it?

    The only natural organic herbicides that I know of are the preemergent corn gluten meal & quite a few vinegar based post-emergents that upset Ph to the extent of cell damage. To be truly effective, the postemergents will also be non-selective. Not unlike the potassium salts of fatty acid herbicides available in the States as Scythe. Because Scythe is processed & legal, it has an EPA registration number. This means only a licenced applicator can use it for hire and the definition of a registered product becomes PESTICIDE. So here in the states, as soon as the product becomes economically feasible (legally registered) the radical left immediately hates it, and moves to remove said product from the organic farms, etc. (woops, gotta watch that soap-box)...Scythe & other fatty acid herbicides work on contact via cell destruction. They are fast, smelly, & quite effective. They have been known to also contain alcohol and have , at times, therefore been flamable. Because they are burn down contact herbicides, they work just like a string trimmer. Take of the top often enough & eventually the roots of even stuborn perennial weeds fail to recover. Anual weeds usualy die with one application because they lack extensive root systems in which to store & release the energy needed for recovery.

    A scientist/chemist friend of mine & I have been fooling around with a product that will work in a similar fasion as vinegar. By radically altering Ph, & by also smothering weeds, we hope to cause death of targeted plants. We don't expect it to be selective though.

    Table Salt (sodium chloride) has been used for non-selective weed control for years. My grandmother used it on her land to control Poison Ivy. She'd complain about the rash, attack the Ivy with pruners & salt, get the rash, & complain some more. It did work though.

    To see more about the beet extract, check out this link. My gut tells me that a church parisioner is somehow involved in the marketing of this product or has done a little too much reading in the gardening magazines.

    The little girl & the dog are both very cute. Similar photos are used by LCO's here in the states all the time. Some even apply conventional pesticides just as readily as most of this forums users do. Check the part about "Organic Plus". You'll find the organic cocktail the curch has been asking about. I won't try to discredit the concept here. But let's face the facts. This is what succesful truf care managers & gardenrs have been doing for years anyway, isn't it? We hardly need a new blend of food grade ingredients to deliver healthy soils. I don't care if soils are improved using Horse or Bovine manure, mushroom beddings and by-products, human tankage (milorginite), leaf compost, poultry manure, cheese, dead fish (remember the American Indians and the first Thanksgiving & all that? ), sea weed & kelp, or beets. The addition of organic matter benefits soils & the plants that row in them. Why the mysterious marketing claims then? Money, Marketing, & Patents! There is also a photo of some young, hungry, weedy turf. In the next photo the turf is greener & has fewer weeds. In any new stand of grass, there is the liklihood of finding weeds & a nitrogen deficiency. Fertilized with anything that contains nitrogen & voila! Greener grass. Mow the turf several times & presto changeo! Horestail, Ragweed, & many other taller weeds will die! Magic? No. Good marketing photos though.

    I hope this barely controlled rant is helpful.

  5. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424


    Thanks for the info. I was hoping to get your opinion. Since this is a municipal park my hands are tied. I try to go into these things with an open mind but it really burns me that these decisions are made by people with have little practical knowledge in caring for horticulture on a comercial basis. I am a firm believer in IPM ( not just as a buzz word because good horticulturalists have done this since the beginning of time) and I like to try new methods of control. But I hate to throw away tried and true methods until the new ways are proven. I really hate how people take parts of studies and facts from other chemicals and just paranoia to ban things. The worse thing about this is that these are supposidly educated people. Well that was my little rant:angry: I am gathering all the facts I can and am going to sit down and do an honest comparison between this organic and chemical weed control. Including costing and safety. Just to let you know, I only spray this turf once a year late in the season(this is because of public pressure and late October is very quiet in the park) with a spring fertilizing and summer fertilizing. Whole area is irrigated. This has resulted in very good turf.

    I will keep you posted and keep the good posts coming.
  6. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    It sounds like you're going about this the right way. You can mantain good turf with a very minimal amount of chemicals if you're completely in charge of the environmental conditions that promote good turf vigor. If you approach these folks with a visible negative attitude, you will lose credibility & their trust. Give this a chance, but allow them the option of conentional treatments. To keep your face in a public arena such as this, it may be good PR to have some cheapo posting signs made uo to explain how & who is treating the turf. This way, if results are marginal, you don't look bad. Only the method will have failed. And it may not fail at all. A lot will depend on the local weed seed pressure. The amount of traffic the turf has to endure will dictate results too.

    Is corn gluten one of the mandated elements? If so, has this park had a crabgrass problem in the past?

    Keep us posted. Best of luck.


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