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Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by GALAWN, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,993

    Now if tests were that thorough, there would be every possible weed occurring in all 50 states listed as either controlled or not controlled. As is, I have to do a lot of field trials. The labels are extremely incomplete in that area. There would also be testing to see if a desired species of turf is tolerant or intolerant under all possible growing conditions. A colleague and I got results from a particular herbicide, in combination with another herbicide not explicable by the product labeling. A turf grass that should have been killed, survived while laying waste to some otherwise bulletproof weeds. In addition to making people happy, another sore subject with me is CYA for the sake of CYA. Anyone that thinks and acts in those terms or otherwise plays that game is kept far away from me. I think that is what has gone wrong with Western civilization. Says a lot about the integrity of men. Meaning that product manufacturers need to worry about someone doing something stupid and not taking responsibility for their mistake. Its not a manufacturer's fault that people do not pay attention to the weather or do a "one second pour" when measuring surfactant. Also is not a manufacturer's fault if their product is going to be applied by someone running across a lawn swinging a gun with a sprinkler nozzle flowing a guestimated gallonage. It certainly is not their fault if a product is applied to a starved and dried out lawn causing either a control failure or turf damage.
  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,084

    I agree with you that communicating the proper expectation to a customer is important.

    Where we differ is that I don't think that I need to discolor a customer's lawn to control their weed problems. This isn't rocket science.

    I've seen this quite a bit over the years. In my opinion (which may or may not mean something to you), it doesn't look good for potential customers to drive by or walk by a lawn with your flag in it and see yellow or brown spots. Maybe you've communicated with that customer, but that lawn's appearance is your communication with everyone who might possibly see it.

    I couldn't even begin to tell you the number of times that I've heard people walking through the neighborhood and comment on the yellow spots in one of our neighbor's lawn and ask what kind of hack would do something to leave those spots. Even if they're temporary, people still notice.


    So, am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Maybe.

    Ever since my university days, I've been on a personal crusade about surfactants. I would get questions every day from golf course supers, athletic field managers, and LCOs about using surfactants and about which ones worked best. When I told them that the label directions produced the best results, they insisted that there had to be something else that worked better.

    So, I did a social experiment with several LCOs (18 total). I took them to our research farm and I helped them mix and apply a herbicide trial. I asked them what their favorite surfactants were so that I could have them there. What they didn't know was that I marked the containers for whatever surfactant they wanted, but it was really the label recommended surfactant in the bottle. I made sure to include one plot of the actual surfactant they wanted, for completeness.

    When they came back 3 wks later to see the results, they all swore that their "favorite surfactant" (the dummy surfactant) did the best, but in reality, it was the same as all the other treatments. The plot they rated as having "average" weed control was the one with the actual surfactant they liked.

    Those LCOs all those years ago helped me illustrate a point:

    Changing surfactant presence and type from the label recommendations won't improve a product's performance. There's a reason that the label recommends a particular surfactant -- the manufacturer has done extensive research to make its product work the best that it can.

    When it's all said and done, you are free to apply whatever you like. I just wanted to remind everyone that surfactants are merely helpers for a select few herbicides and are not make-or-break miracle additives.
  3. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    Maybe those uninformed neighbors of yours pointing to those "yellow spots" and coming to the conclusion that they must have been caused by "hacks" don't know the difference between dying crab grass from a proper application to what your assuming is a burn of turf grass from misapplication. How do you skippy kill weeds in a lawn without having them go through the natural process of turning yellow prior to brown? Surely you dont ever have anything yellow in a lawn youve treated. If you could enlighten us all on that trick that would be great. Thank god I don't have a bunch of agronomist, horticulturists, weed scientists walking around discussing the stages and color of dying weeds in my lawns. For the record I've over heard very few peoples conversations walking down my street never mind the context of it and doubt highly very many people, not in this industry, are capable or interested in such a conversation. That's what we call a strawman argument.
  4. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,084

    I walked over to the lawn with them: they were worried that the elderly man who lived at that house was being taken advantage of by someone who didn't know what he was doing. This was years ago when I lived in the southeast and his bermudagrass was very yellow where these applications were made.

    To the LCO's credit, the weeds were dying, but the grass was yellow.

    People know the difference when a weed is turning colors and when their desirable grass is turning colors. It's very easy to tell when something like that happens. I just don't think doing that is necessary or desirable.
  5. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,716

    There are many points that you brought up that I agree with. And, I know the chemical companies do a lot of R&D. We are paying for it every time we purchase a bottle of Celsius, Revolver, etc...

    I just know that many times, especially with the products used today, temporary discoloration cannot be avoided. Most people realize that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Those neighbors that walk by and don't are usually the ones with weed infested lawns that will always be weed infested. Most usually change their tune in a few weeks when they walk by and see the transformation. In fact, that's what I count on because usually I'll pick up another customer or two.

    Ultimately, my goal is to eliminate weeds as quickly and efficiently as possible in a minimal amount of time for me and the customer. temporary discoloration is a by-product of that process that can't be avoided with many of todays herbicides. My main concern is that my customer is informed about that process. The neighbors...they can swim in a sea of weeds or they can jump on board. That's up to them...
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,383

    I think it would be accurate to say the average person does not know the difference between weeds and desirable grass. For instance my father in law not that long ago before the St Aug had greened up (his lawn is almost totally shaded with little direct sunlight which only further slows green up) wondered why his lawn I have treated was not green as the other lawns around. Of course the other lawns were green with poa annua & broadleaves but they were "greener".
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,993

    With the loss of MSMA, it has been a long time since I discolored a lawn to where it was unacceptable to me. The new products, with the exception of Dismiss, cause a gradual decline in the weeds. Only time they caused any discoloration was totally my fault. Not something for me to go running to Bayer, Monsanto, etc. I applied to a lawn that should have been fertilized first. That is not the fault of the product and not the fault of the surfactant used. I knew it, the customer knew it, and a following application of soluble fertilizer/micronutrients rapidly corrected that problem.

    Even in multimillion dollar neighborhoods, weeds bush hogged down twice a month is normal. I had to point out to neighbors passing by, that that lawn is 100% one grass with no weeds. They hardly noticed when the lawn was subjected to Tenacity, Sethoxydim, then Dismiss+Certainty.
  8. Staffy

    Staffy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I am trying to find one of you experts or a recommendation of someone who is qualified to apply Certainty in the Waterford, Michigan area? I have attempted to apply myself, but know when I am over my head, so reaching out to you guys for some pointers please!

    I am sick of calling "professionals" who have never heard of quack grass and their solution is always aeration... even though I just had aeration done 2 months ago :)

  9. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    maybe someone from your area can help you out but I do not think you want someone to apply Certainty to your cool season grasses. It is labeled safe for warm season grasses but will put the whooping on several cool season grasses in our area.
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  10. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,246

    Certainty used to be labeled for cool season grasses to remove quack grass on tall fescue. I used it for several years and the results ranged from total eradication of undesirable grasses to wiping out a lawn and everything in between. I determined that time of year and weather were the determining factor as to wether it worked. I still have some left labeled for cool season grasses and I get requests to use it. Only after a lengthy discussion with them and overcharging will I even try it. I am waiting for the roundup ready bluegrass. Hit that with roundup every 3 to 4 years and you should be good to go as far as quack grass goes.

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