Chemical Update: Adjuvants/Wetting Agents

There are many reasons for you to want to make spray mixtures more effective. Sometimes factors are present that prevent the pesticide from doing as it is intended. The key to effectiveness is that the sprayed product must reach the target organism, but hurdles, such as the following, often are in the way of effective delivery:

  • Soil may be hydrophobic and repel the water carrier, preventing root-absorbed materials from reaching roots.

  • Plant surfaces may be waxy and repel foliar sprays.

  • Rain, irrigation and even dew can dilute or wash off sprayed material on plant surfaces.

  • Pesticides in a tank may not be compatible.

  • Drift may prevent precise application to target.

Fortunately, adjuvants are available that can help you overcome these obstacles. Using adjuvants in you turf management program can help you improve plant protection performance They can make the difference between peak performance and poor performance.

The starting point is to find the right adjuvant for the job. This new addition to the “Chemical Update” series will help you in this task.

As you look through the list of products, it is important that you realize that one adjuvant product may serve many roles. A manufacturer in many cases will blend active ingredients together to make one product that will have broader application. For instance, the manufacturer may blend a non-ionic surfactant, to be used as a spreader/activator/penetrant, with a buffer and defoaming agent to deal with water pH and reduce foaming in the spray tank. For a comprehensive list of the Chemical Update tables that accompany this article, go to our Industry Research resource at

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