Fertilizer/pesticide combinations

For many years, Grounds Maintenance has brought you the "Turfgrass Chemical Update," covering herbicides, insecticides and fungicides with turfgrass registration. Due to space limitations, these did not include products formulated as pesticide/fertilizer combinations. However, we realize that these are important tools for many of you. Therefore, as an extension of our "Chemical Update" series, we bring you this compilation of combination products.

Unlike our previous "Updates," these tables do not cross-reference chemicals with pests controlled or other characteristics. This "Update" simply gives you an overview of your options. To obtain more detailed information about specific chemicals, refer to the "Updates" that we published in January, February and March. Here, we include basic information such as fertilizer analysis, percent active ingredient and suppliers. (Where you see "Various" under fertilizer analysis, this means the supplier formulates that percent of active ingredient with several fertilizer analyses or custom blends the combination.)

Combination products enable you to fertilize and control pests with a single application. This, of course, is a significant advantage. However, although this is a great labor saver, it may require you to more carefully analyze your strategies. By using a combination product, you must ensure you appropriately time the application for both the fertilizer and the chemical. You also must determine that the rate of active ingredient is what you need. Because combinations include pesticides-and you must always follow a pesticide's label-you may not have the option to alter applications rates as you might with a straight fertilizer or pesticide. Thus, you sacrifice some flexibility with combination products. However, when timing and rates mesh properly-as they often do-there's no way to beat the economy of one granular application to achieve two objectives.

You must consider yet another aspect when choosing a combination product. The composition of the fertilizer in these products can vary widely and could include fast- or slow-release fertilizers, one or more of several possible forms of nitrogen and perhaps minor and micronutrients as well. For more specific information about the fertilizer content of a product, you must consult with the supplier. The composition of the fertilizer could weigh heavily in your choice of product.

As you'll see, pre-emergence herbicides dominate the available combination products. Because you often apply pre-emergents at about the same time as fertilizers (in spring, for example) and in a similar manner (by spreader), this makes sense. Thus, you'll find pre-emergents well-represented in combinations with fertilizers.

Post-emergence herbicides also are available with fertilizers. These, of course, are the popular "weed-and-feed" products that have been in use for many years. Though perhaps more popular in the retail market, these products also are available to commercial operators.

Insecticides and fungicides comprise a smaller proportion of the available combination products. However, if you're looking for grub controls, you'll find no shortage of options, with Merit, Mach 2 and Oftanol all represented. Dursban, a staple product for pest-control programs, also is available with fertilizer, as are several important fungicides.

When you use combination products, don't forget that you still are working with a pesticide, and you must use all appropriate precautions and safety equipment, and follow all label instructions. This listing is not a recommendation or substitute for label instructions. If you would like more information about a product, you can contact the supplier via the information in the box on page 43. They will be happy to provide you with additional information, including labels, and help you locate a distributor near you. You'll find that most of these products enjoy wide distribution.

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