What Is a Surfactant and When Should You Use One? 

 May 2, 2021

Tried using herbicides on your lawn but don’t see the results you want? You are not alone! This is a common issue with many lawn owners. But there is always a solution to that. One effective way is using a surfactant for lawns.

If you are unfamiliar with how the substance helps your herbicides, what it is, how it works, and when to use one, PetraTools will help you learn all about it.

What Is a Surfactant? 

A weed surfactant is also known as a wetting agent, spreader, or surface-active agent. It works by breaking down the surface tension of any liquid form. In terms of herbicides, a wetting agent lets the treatment stick to plants better and weakens growers’ resistance to absorb chemicals.

A common scenario is breaking down the waxy surface of leaves. This cuticle-like layer can get in the way of many liquid lawn treatments success in being absorbed by plants.

How Does a Spreader Work? 

Surfactant for weeds can be easily combined with other liquids because it is water-soluble. They aid in making lawn solutions work better and more effectively.

When it comes to herbicides, nonionic surfactant allows the lawn solution to get into weeds efficiently, breaking down the waxy layer. This strengthens the power of your herbicides in killing unwanted vegetation.

Just remember to always check the label when purchasing an herbicide. Some products already have a surfactant in them.

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When Should I Use a Surfactant? 

The straightforward answer to this is when you have weeds and other unwanted vegetation to take care of. Identify what type of weeds you have on your lawn, so you can buy the right product for it. You can always add the wetting agent every time you apply the solution.

It’s also essential to take note that natural surfactants should be mixed with other lawn care solutions and not be used alone.

How Should You Apply a Surfactant in Killing Weeds? 

There are two methods you can use to apply a wetting agent:

  • Mixing the substance with your herbicide
  • Applying the surfactant first to the affected areas and then the herbicide

Both ways provide the same effectiveness. But to help you save time when applying, it’s best to combine the nonionic surfactant for herbicide.

You will need a quality-tested backpack sprayer as well, so you can accurately apply the lawn care treatment more effectively.

Tips When Applying Herbicides with a Wetting Agent

Never Apply Lawn Treatments When Windy

The wind can interfere with the spray pattern of your application. This creates an uneven application and blows chemicals away to other plants and yourself as well. So, what is the ideal weather to apply the treatment? Do it on a sunny day when you can’t feel the wind blowing your plants or clothes.

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Make Sure to Coat All the Leaves

This plays an important factor in achieving a better application. You need to make sure that the leaves are fully covered with the lawn treatments. Spray the herbicide directly onto the foliage.

Wear the Right Clothing

Regardless of the type of liquid lawn care products you’re applying, it’s always important to wear protective clothing. This prevents any chemical splashes from touching your skin, avoiding irritation or allergies. You can use old clothes. No need to buy a protective suit.

What you will need:

  • Long pants and shirt with long sleeves
  • Boots
  • Hand gloves
  • Eye protector
  • Face mask

Keep Children and Pets Away from Your Lawn

Children and pets are the most vulnerable to developing allergies or irritation from chemicals. Make sure to keep them away from your lawn during and a few days following the application. Allowing a few days ensures that the plants have already absorbed the chemicals.

The Takeaway

Using a liquid surfactant for your herbicides can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of the treatments. Make sure to read the label if the product already has a wetting agent. If none, include a spreader in your purchase because it will be worth the money. So, get rid of weeds more effectively or promote optimal growth in your favorite ornamentals using a surfactant now!

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