An often-overlooked, and arguably the most important, ingredient affecting successful product applications is water. If you are having performance issues with certain products not performing as expected or products not performing “like they used to,” you may want to consider testing your water. Once the test is completed, recommendations of the appropriate adjuvant(s) can be made to address your specific needs and improve the performance and efficacy of your applications.

As defined in the Purdue University publication Adjuvants and the Power of the Spray Droplet, “An adjuvant is a product that you add to a spray solution to improve the efficacy of a pesticide, consistency of the solution, and application safety (such as reducing drift).”

This is a great publication that goes into great detail about the numerous variables that affect application efficacy and how water plays such a vital role. Spoiler alert: Not all water is created equal. Click here for a link to the publication. 

Here are a few factors to consider when reviewing water samples or analyzing application performance:

  • Are there barriers within the water that are preventing products from going into solution? Are there excessive amounts of cations that bind up the pesticides and render them ineffective?
  • What is the surface of the target plant? Is the surface waxy, or does it have hairy cuticles creating tension and limiting absorption, uptake, and coverage on the leaf tissue?
  • Are you using the best nozzles for the application? Are the droplets too big or too small? Are they sticking to the leaf tissue, bouncing off, or evaporating? Is your application volume appropriate for the application?
  • Could the weather have impacted the application? Humidity, overcast or sunny skies causing degradation, wind speed, and temperature all play a factor in the performance of applications.
  • What is the pH of the water? The pH can have a dramatic effect on the half-life of certain pesticides.
  • Don’t assume all water sources are the same just because they are near each other. I recently had a customer notice a dramatic difference in the efficacy of his herbicide applications after changing his water source from the same property. When he went back to the original water source, he noticed a considerable improvement.

Precision Laboratories LV is one of the numerous adjuvants available on the market and is specifically formulated for low-volume sprayer applications. It is a water conditioner combined with a non-ionic surfactant to increase application efficacy. The water conditioner in LV binds up cations in the water allowing the pesticides to be more readily available to perform as they were designed while also reducing pH. The non-ionic surfactant improves the overall coverage of the application by allowing the droplets to spread more evenly and cover a larger surface area and not just bead up and or roll off the leaf tissue.

There are numerous adjuvants available to you from Advanced Turf Solutions. If you have questions about getting a free water test or more information about adjuvants, contact your local ATS rep for more information.