Wetting Agents

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Victor, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    I've been thinking about mixing a good wetting agent in with my Springtime blanket liquid apps. Since an overwhelming majority of my lawns are recently sodded lawns, that were laid on top of a hard-pan, gravely, clay surface. Since very few of my customers have irrigation systems, a good wetting agent should help compensate for the lack of water these lawns get. At least I'd know that my lawns would derive the maximum benefit out of whatever water they did get. I'm always looking for that edge. I'm always looking for a tweak I can do to my program that will set my lawns that much further ahead of my competition's lawns.
    I'm really curious to see what opinions any of you might have about me incorporating them into my program. While not optimum, I'd use them just once in the late Spring (should really help my lawns handle the dryer weather of Summer more easily). Anyway.. I'd really like to read any opinions any of you might have. If anyone would like to share their experiences with them, I'm all ears. Thanks.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,814

    A wetting agent acting as a spreader-sticker would help your weed control.

    I am not convinced it would help combat dry conditions. Why not try it on the left half of your own lawn first--or offer it as a low cost option to certain customers. In a few weeks you will know whether the cost is worth the results. Side by side comparison is the best way to prove it has done some good.

    Does the OSU recommend it for that purpose?
  3. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    does spreader sticker cause less product useage or just more effective?
  4. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    Wetting agents are commonly used to alleviate localized dry spots in lawns (mostly used on golf courses and sports turf though I believe) and treat hydrophobic soils (soils that basically repel water).
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,814

    Humble and interested parties,
    Not sure about hydrophobic soils--for weeds, spreader sticker increases penetration and reduces run-off on waxy and hairy weeds. I use it for greater control--but I suspect that you could also use it to reduce the rate. Lesco/JDL sells a plain non-ionic wetting agent and a premium wetter called "Hawkeye"--which is expensive, (silicone based)--but a little goes a long way.

    However, I no longer use wetting agent in my Pemagreen because it causes foaming in the tank. Hand sprayers and back pack for spot spray of tough weeds--cost is minimal and it is helpful.
  6. bug-guy

    bug-guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,033

    the question was on wetting agents not spreader sticker!!!!!!!!!
    wetting agents act as a penetrant, spreader stickers spread the solution out then dries not to bead up and run off i believe both are considered surfactants thus some confusion...

    i think what you want to look at is a product called ecosential moisture mgr at lesco or hydratrain elsewhere (same product) works good in drought situtions the key is appling it b-4 the drought and maintaining.
    as always check the label

  7. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    Victor, I use a product called Tri-cure on my golf courses. I apply 4 oz. per M initially and 2 oz. per M bi-weekly after that. It is awesome at getting through the thatch. I've used others, too, like Aqua-Aid and some of Lesco's, but for thatch, Tricure is the whip. Dr. Keith Karnock (I think that's his last name) at Univ. of Georgia has done extensive research on wetting agents. He's kind of the guru. You may want to google that or contact him for rec. on home lawns. One thing, too is longevity. There are "season-long" wetting agents, like Cascade or Lesco-wet, and short term fixes, some work better in different soils, too. I'm dealing with native soil greens (topsoil) vs. sand or USGA mixes, where you're talking clay. Very interesting idea. I have a feeling it will be cost prohibitive, but definitely worth looking into.
  8. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    Correct. Wetting agents reduce "surface tension." Think about the beads of moisture on the side of a glass. A very steep sided bubble of water. The wetting agents reduce the tension in this bead and "flatten" the bubble, allowing it to soak into the soil more readily. Fire fighters inject wetting agents at the truck as well to make the water more effective. It's also the same concept as at the quarter car wash when you use the spot free rinse. "It makes the water wetter."
  9. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    Alright, it's Karnok, not Karnock, I misspelled it. I Googled "Keith Karnok, wetting agents" and came up with 115 matches. Most of this is golf course related, but maybe e-mail him and see what he has to suggest in lawn care. kkarnok@uga.edu
  10. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    Thanks for the good feedback Marc and Bug-Guy. I'm going to definitely look into some of the season-long wetting agents, like Cascade for example. My lawns do really well in the Spring and Fall here. If I could just help them get through our Summers by applying a good wetting agent in late Spring, that should help keep them looking great all year long (except Winter when they go dormant, of course). I'd really only need 4 months of help from whatever wetting agent I settle on. If this product could help my lawns get from June, through September, they'd be good to go.
    Imagine what that would do for your image if your lawns didn't have much of a drop off in the Summer. I think the lack of an appreciable drop off in the appearance of my lawns in Summer would make the additional cost of the wetting agent more than worth it. We all know our customer's neighbors watch our lawns. The results these neighbors see, or don't see in our lawns makes a lot of them elect to call us, or not call us.
    Since I'm planning on switching to all liquid for round 2, that would make for an excellent time to apply a wetting agent on every one of my lawns.
    I don't know if any of you had thought this through like that, but I think it's an intriguing idea. Sometimes you have to spend a little more money, to make a lot more.

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