Professionals deal with a variety of issues concerning pesticides on a daily basis, such as water solubility. Though it's not as much of a problem as it used to be, there are still issues that arise when applying pesticides whether it's a fungicide, an insecticide or an herbicide.
Today, most pesticides are formulated for use with water. However, water isn't so easily absorbed into the target, such as a waxy leaf or an insect's exoskeleton. The key is to use an adjuvant, more specifically, a surfactant to help with dispersion, spreading and wetting of the pesticide for better coverage and absorption.
Benefits of Surfactants
Water molecules are like magnets, each one having a negative and positive charge. So if you put them together, the positive and negative forces attract. This attraction or "coming together" causes tension on the surface.
When you apply a pesticide to the surface, it's stopped quickly and doesn't spread as greatly or uniformly across the spray area. Mixing a surfactant with the pesticide improves the application. A surfactant will reduce the surface tension, allowing the pesticide to spread and disperse more easily across the surface. Not only will it allow the pesticide to spread, but it also makes it much easier to penetrate the surface now that the tension is reduced.
Some pesticides are formulated with a built-in surfactant; others are not. If the pesticide label calls for a surfactant to improve the efficacy, you have a variety of products from which to choose. We'll focus on two of our top performers: Gulfstream and Turbulence.
What is Gulfstream?
Gulfstream has an advanced formulation to improve spreading and sticking of the pesticide on the surface. It can be used with most any pesticide, from herbicides to fungicides, and contains sodium salts of soy fatty acids to help reduce the surface tension and improve absorption. Not only that, but it's formulated to reduce the smell of the pesticide, which is great when applying the product where people will gather. It also minimizes UV breakdown of the pesticide, helping it to last longer in direct sunlight.
What is Turbulence?
Turbulence is similar to Gulfstream except that it contains modified vegetable oil as the active ingredient. It's a superior nonionic surfactant and will provide uniform distribution of the pesticide onto the surface. When used with an herbicide, it assists with absorption and enhances its overall performance on weeds and brush.
Surfactants Improve Pesticide Performance
Mixing surfactants in the tank with your pesticide is never a bad idea when the label calls for it. You'll see much better results with deposition, distribution and absorption thanks to how the surfactant reduces surface tension. When in doubt, look to the label for recommendations, as well as talk with our service reps for more information about how and which surfactants will help you the most.