surfactant test

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by RigglePLC, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    I sprayed a large leaf with water. I added detergent as a surfactant and sprayed the leaf on the right, for comparison. Plant was Hosta. I used Dawn detergent, at one-third ounce per gallon. This would be about a quart per hundred gallons (probably far in excess of the amount needed). Fine for use in spot spraying or low volume where cost is mainly in the labor--not the surfactant.

    The spreader-sticker action was obvious.

    But I am thinking a comparison test with real weeds and herbicide with and without a surfactant or spreader-sticker would be the best way to decide if sticker is need and if it is worth the cost.
    Waiting for your pictures, using you favorite product.

    Which weed do you think is most difficult to wet?

  2. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    Would you consider applying w/out a surfactant....if the label called for it as an additive?

    If not, I'm not understanding the question.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    Few labels call for a surfactant except Drive.
    Lesco Three-way Ester II says: "Adding oil, wetting agent or other surfactant to the spray may be used to increase effectiveness on weeds, but doing so may reduce selectivity to turf resulting in turf damage."

    Dismiss says: "Do not apply with surfactants unless previous experience has demonstrated combinations with surfactant to be physically compatible and non-injurious to the grass type in question."

    I could find no mention of surfactants on the Momentum label.
    In most cases it is up to the applicator to choose and decide on a surfactant. It may depend on the type of weed and how difficult it is to wet and kill. And it may depend on if you are low volume or high volume. And if foam may be a problem. And the cost.
  4. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    Interesting. I'm applying ornamec and sedgehammer in the AM. Both call for non-ionics.

    Thanks for the explanation.
  5. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    How interesting you should bring this topic up. Being from the south......where it does get doubt. The heat and drought conditions does close up the stomata and makes for penetration slim. This also reduces transpiration and obviously reduces precious moisture loss from the plant or weed. The waxy cuticle also makes for a harsh surface for water penetration. The leaf structure of a plant like the hosta allows water to flow off the waxy surface down to the crown where it is utilized more efficiently. Some weeds are the same way. The cohesion tension theory allows for water and nutrient uptake in a plant, weed or tree. In such harsh conditions, these mechanisms are slowed down. In a nutshell......the use of a surfactant (Adjuvant) in my conditions; it is a must or the water will bead up and roll off most surfaces of the plant. This leads to surmise that herbicides mixed with the water are only in suspension and will separate and not adhere to the surface of the weed.
    I can say that the hosta leaf on the left of your photo will not absorb the herbicide as efficiently as the other more surface coated leaf.
    In all defense to your theory.......a herbicide that works on the root shoots and stems such as Simazine, Barricade, Dimension......needs no surfactant. Those that work on translocation methods needs a surfactant. Whether it be 80/20 90/10 or MSO each has a place according to the label. With the costs of these new herbicides now............It is not worth the effort to do trial runs at your expense.
  6. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    Surfactants-wetting agents are absolutely worth using. I use them for drought stress on putting greens and they help alot. Lesco-Flo tablets are my favorite.
  7. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    Dawn IS a non-ionic surfactant. Just don't use the anti-bacterial version.

    Now I'm just a lowly homeowner here, but I use Dawn frequently in my hose end sprayer (which is pretty much the ONLY thing I use it for). It's pretty good by itself for spraying on aphids, spider mites and scale. I've also had luck with it breaking up the surface tension on shady soil, to let water drain where moss was causing problems.

    I'm not sure it's the worst, but my wild garlic (they look a lot like scallions) are very waxy, and almost nothing spreads on their surface. I've used Dawn with 2,4D, but also bruise the plants first.
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Nothing wrong with a hose end sprayer and dish soap. Be sure it is at least a 1% solution to be effective. 2% solution is the real bomb. Add a little 20-20-20 and you will have a great looking yard.

    But don't forget the Soap advantage when used for GRUBS & Mole Crickets. No it isn't the latest Tree Hugger Grub Control. But it sure can help chemical Grub & Mole Cricket control work better. Just soak your Turf with Soap or detergent and you will drive Grubs and Mole Cricket to the surface where you can then apply Dylox at a lesser rate and get a more effective treatment.

    Of Course TIMING is Every Thing.
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Research I am reading and have not tried, but will, is about Silicone Surfactants. The study suggest the silicone surfactants best for both Glyphosate and 2,4-D products, for up take by the Plant.

    Now let me tell the whole story. The Study in fact is about Boom Wickers used in agriculture for economic weed control in all areas of Ag. Wicking booms can be driven over row crops just above them so the tall weeds are treated but not the crop. Pastures etc the same thing. Cows eat down the desire forage and the weeds standing above them are treated.

    This is a very LOW volume application of a very high % AI solution. But still only a very very small amount of herbicide actually touches the weed. Therefore it needs all the help it can get to in to the weed.

    BTW most Reseach by Fert Companies is for Agriculture. Therefore to stay ahead, Reading Agriculture reports is not a bad source of information.

  10. BShaffer

    BShaffer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119


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