When to use Surfactant

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by B-Easy, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. B-Easy

    B-Easy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    On rounds when applying both pre and post emergent herbicides is it beneficial to include a surfactant, either non-ionic or MSO? By my logic, it would seem to be more detrimental than beneficial if it is impeeding the pre-emergent from getting washed into the soil. Labels on pre-emergent herbicides I have looked at do not indicate a surfactant should not be used.
    Thoughts or any information you may be able to direct me to would be appreciated.

    Happy Holidays!
  2. TurfWerks

    TurfWerks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I have the same question.. My supplier tells me it is beneficial but cant explain why..

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,462

    Putting a surfactant in the spray tank is beneficial with the post Emergent but i can't say about the pre emergent but i don't think it would keep the pre from getting to the soil

    I do it all the time

    You know that different surfactant do different things

    The one that i use is a wetting agent it removes the waxy surface and spreads the liquid over the leaf surface for better herbicide up take for better weed kill

    Charles Cue
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Myself, I think that a surfactant would not interfere with the action of a pre-emergent. It should increase the effectiveness of a post emergent like Trimec...especially for tough or hard to wet weeds.
    Adding surfactant costs more, so be sure you are using the maximum rate of your herbicide, as that is usually more cost effective.
  5. TurfWerks

    TurfWerks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Like I said I feel its great for a post emerge, but pre emergent bothers me..
  6. B-Easy

    B-Easy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    I have done some further reading on the subjuect and Non-ionic Surfactants are more of a "wetting" agent than anything. With that in mind and based on the mode of action of a wetting agent it would appear that it would be beneficial to use with pre-emergents herbicides. Furthermore, a wetting agent could aid in applications on hydrophobic soils. http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/Soilfacts/AG-439-25/
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,135

    True. The only surfactant that is questionable for lawn applications of preemergent herbicides are "stickers" based on resins, polymers or latex. I have heard of such materials used with preemergents, but for bare ground or for application to soil in ag crops. Making something stick to grass blades does not seem logical. On the other hand, using a non ionic wetting agent may enhance action of soil active products in a lawn.

    SOONER GREEN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    Surfactants won't hurt your pre-emerg. In fact even though the label of a pre may not call for the use of a surfactant, it should acually help. Surfactants / spreader stickers etc. reduce surface tension of water. They make water wetter, that will aid in better coverage. Yes they benifit post emergent chems more than pre emerg, but they do not interfere with pre emerg because the dont keep it from being washed into the soil with irrigation.
  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Make sure to check the herbicide labels. Some "mixes" already have it included. For example I don't use any with speedzone. It may be a pbi thing.

    Had a guy here burn a ton of lawns with speedzone/Fert/surfactant mix
  10. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,257

    Ask yourself what is your goal for the pre-em? Where is the action taking place? Above ground or below? Trans-location or non-trans location? You should be able to answer your own query. As greendoctor mentioned: it's superficial to use on bareground because your aim is to prevent weed development by halting the root growth.

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