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Do My Own Lawn Care - How to Use Surfactants

By DoMyOwn staff

What are surfactants and how do you use them? That is the topic of this video. We will go over what they are, how they work and how you should use them!

Video Transcript

And it is actually starting to look like a lawn back here. A lot of the weeds have died off, fescue's looking healthy and good from the fertilizer we put down. Things are starting to look up.

Now it's still not perfect but we're getting there. One small step at a time to get the big beautiful green luscious lawn I've always wanted back here. We're getting there. I still got some issues like this right here. Got a nice big bare spot in the back that I'm going to have to eventually tackle and fix. But that's a future video for another time.

A lot of the weeds are dead and gone. They are no more. All I really have back here is grass. And you see what I see? See what's starting to happen back here? Yeah! That's progress.

If you recall in the last video, I mentioned I've got a pretty bad Poa Annua, Po-aa Ana, Annual Bluegrass, Poe...however you say it, I've got a Poa Annua problem back here and I was going to spray for it.

And if you flash back and remember, the whole idea behind this lawn series, is I know absolutely nothing about lawn care. So I'm relying on customer service staff at Do My Own dot com for the expert knowledge to get my yard looking awesome.

So I reached out and I told them that I wanted to spray for the Poa Annua back here and they said not to because I was going to spray for a cool season weed in a cool season grass. And a lot of the products that a formulated for that will end up killing the fescue along with the Poa Annua and that's the last thing I want to do. I'm just getting this yard to look really good back here and I don't want to risk damaging my fescue.

We do sell herbicides that you can spray over a cool season grass turf to get rid of Poa Annua, I'll make sure to leave those in the description box below, if that's something that you're in need of. But because I'm down here in the south and the summer heat really kills off all those cool season weeds, I ain't going to worry about it. But that is a nice segue to today's topic, surfactants and herbicides.

Alright so what are surfactants and how do we use them? Let's tackle that first question...first. 

Surfactants are going to dramatically help herbicides in three main ways; coverage, retention and penetration. First up coverage, let's talk about that.

Okay so cover...hold on.

Oh...okay that's better. It was distracting me, sorry. So coverage, let's talk about that. Put simply surfactants reduce the surface tension so that the herbicide gets more coverage on the weed that you're trying to spray. Meaning they help reduce the surface tension of water. Since most herbicides are sprayed or carried by water, what surfactants are going to do is help keep that spray on the targeted weed rather than rolling off it onto the soil.

So now retention. After the surfactants spreads, it needs to help the herbicide stick and increase its rain fastness. In other words it's kind of like the glue that's going to help the herbicide stick to the weed that its sprayed on and if it rains, it's going to reduce the chances of it washing off of that weed.

Lastly, penetration. Every plant has leaf hairs or a waxy surface or some kind of cuticle to help prevent herbicides from penetrating them. And surfactants are going to help those herbicides break through those protective barriers, get down into the leaf tissue and start to go to work.

Alright so now let me see if I can put this to the test and kind of show you what I'm talking about.

Ok so what I've done is taken my two separate sprayers, this one has just the herbicide mixed up in it, and this one has the herbicide and surfactant mixed up in it.

Okay, so leaf on the left is going to be the herbicide without surfactant.

Going to be herbicide with surfactant.

SO what you'll notice with herbicides without surfactant is the H2O just beads up and rolls off, like what we've got right here.

Whereas with a surfactant added to the mix, you'll notice there's a slight sheen to the leaf surface. That's the herbicide actually sticking to it and going to work. So that is the main difference between an herbicide without a surfactant. You've got the little water beading up and rolling off. And an herbicide with a surfactant. Sheen to the leaf surface, sticking to it, going to work.

Now I know what you're thinking, I've got all that herbicide mixed up and ready to go, am I going to put it to use? Absolutely!

Now that spring is officially here, the grass is starting to green up and so are the weeds. SO I'm going to go through and spot spray in the front right here.

On the side of the house right here.

And mainly in the jungle back here. I'm still in the process of getting this under control and looking good. We got a long ways to go back here, but we're making a dent.

But I'm not going to bore you with another spraying montage. We'll save that for another video.

If you want to know more about the products I used for this video, I'll make sure to leave the links in the description box below so you can click over to Do My Own dot com and read more about those. Or you can click that little "i" icon at the top of the screen. 

If you have any other further questions on surfactants, or if there's something I didn't touch on or leave out, as always, like I say in every video, you can leave those in the comments section below, email them over to our customer service staff, or pick up the phone and give us  a call!

I'm pretty pumped that cold weather here in the south is finally behind us, spring is in full effect and this yard is starting to green up really nicely!

Which means it's almost time for scalping, aerating and putting down that last application of pre and post emergents in the whole yard.

So make sure to subscribe to the channel by clicking this button right here to catch all that action when it happens, you can catch up on all the videos in the Do My Own Lawn Care series by clicking this playlist and click this playlist right here to catch all the videos in the Do My Own Gardening series.

And as always, thanks for watching!