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Difference between a surfactant and a spreader/sticker

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by CL&T, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    I get into this debate every once and a while with fellow applicators. Some say there is no difference, I say there is but I've been known to be wrong. A surfactant is like a soap, matter of fact I've heard recommendations for non-ionic dish washing liquids like Joy being used. When added to the tank mix it breaks down the surface tension of the spray liquid when applied to foliage so it coats the foliage completely, not just bead up. A spreader/sticker is a surfactant with another ingredient such as an oil that helps the spray stay on the foliage after it is coated.
  2. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    Sounds right to me. But why do I here that MSO better than Lesco spreader/sticker or any other.
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,283

    The difference between a surfactant and a spreader sticker is how it affects the active ingredient. A surfactant makes the active ingredient spread more evenly across the leaf. A spreader sticker is usually a resin based material that will mix with the active ingredient and bind it to the surface of the leaf. In binding it to the leaf surface, it also interferes with the action of products that are supposed to be systemic. The only time I ever use spreader sticker type products are with contact fungicides, insecticides and miticides as are used on ornamentals/nursery crops. Never for turf herbicides.

    MSO has the property of solublizing many active ingredients, then carrying them through the leaf. This is especially good for the sulfonylurea herbicides, which are not very soluble in water and not soluble in solvents. Examples of sulfonylurea herbicides are Certainty, Celsius, Corsair, Mansion, Revolver, and Sedgehammer.

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