This spring, several turf professionals had the opportunity to test a new product from Dow AgroSciences. During their first preemergence applications of the season with Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide, they added Defendor™ specialty herbicide to their tanks, giving themselves a head start on broadleaf weed control and their customers greater satisfaction. When applied in early spring in conjunction with the first preemergence application, Defendor prevents dandelions from blooming, greatly reducing callbacks and minimizing complaints. Here’s what the turf managers had to say about their experience:
Case Study 1: The Sodfather
Ryan Mottinger has been maintaining the sports fields at Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Ind., for more than a decade, and it’s been a challenge.
“I have gotten callbacks on these fields for the past 12 years,” Mottinger says.
Athletic fields are very difficult to maintain, because the turf is in high demand and heavily used during the key growing season. Since there is little time to allow the turf to recover from the excessive injury, it is a perfect environment for broadleaf weeds to flourish.
Mottinger, a member of the building and grounds department with Duneland School Corporation, treated the baseball diamonds with Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide at 1 pt./A mixed with Defendor™ specialty herbicide at 4 oz./A. The applications were made on April 19 with a soil temperature of 52 F.
“With Defendor in the tank, I was able to get out earlier than I ever have before with a broadleaf application. The fields have never looked so good. I don’t have any dandelions, clover, creeping Charlie or any other broadleaf weeds,” Mottinger says. “Instead of getting complaints, I’m now referred to as the ‘Sodfather.’”
Case Study 2: DSR Hits a Weed Control Home Run
On a cool day in late April, Mike Krupke, distributor sales representative with Frontier-Servco FS in Wisconsin, applied Defendor™ specialty herbicide along with Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide to multiple sports fields on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.
“The spring season this year was quite different, but I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see how Defendor worked under the cooler temperatures,” he says.
Earlier this year, Krupke began working with the school’s turf manager and, after learning about their limited budget, tight schedule and heavy weed pressure, Krupke quickly realized that adding Defendor to Dimension 2EW was the perfect combination for the job.
Herbicide applications are typically made to the school’s athletic fields once each spring. “We have one opportunity for weed control, so I was eager to see the results, especially on high-traffic areas,” says Krupke, a former golf course superintendent.
Along with Dimension 2EW, Defendor was applied to eight acres, including soccer, baseball and softball fields, as well as several areas along the athletic complex’s main entrance, to combat the primary offenders — dandelion and clover. With a 52-degree day and a comparable soil temperature, Krupke was able to apply Defendor to a variety of turf species, including bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue.
“We wanted to maintain the campus’s aesthetic value while giving athletes a healthy playing surface,” Krupke says. “Every season is a little different, and even with the cold, damp weather this spring, Defendor provided me with the flexibility to serve my customer before the sports seasons started.”
He applied a mixture of Defendor™ specialty herbicide (4 oz./A) and Dimension 2EW (1 pt./A). This combination also can be applied with the first fertilizer applications of the season. In some areas, Krupke applied a mixture of Dimension 2EW and Defendor with a surfactant.
“Defendor is extremely easy to mix and measure, and it is nice to apply a product with no strong odor,” Krupke says.
The fields were surveyed two weeks after application with little to no visible weeds above the turf canopy. Even with a light rain three hours after application, Krupke says, they still saw superior control.
“Based on the results we’ve seen, I plan to use Defendor again next spring on even more acreage. It’s a great product, especially on sports turf where we have such limited time to make applications when the turf is not in use,” he says. “In the end, we were able to control the key problem weeds and, ultimately, better serve the customer.”
Case Study 3: Superior Chickweed Control in Ohio
When Rodney Creech had the opportunity to test Defendor™ specialty herbicide with his Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide applications, he jumped at the chance. “I had heard all about the product’s ability to control dandelion, but I was really interested in seeing what it did on chickweed,” Creech says.
Creech, owner of Lawn Plus, considers chickweed the No. 1 high-anxiety weed in his market in southwestern Ohio. “Chickweed is so prevalent here. We get a lot of phone calls in the spring for winter annuals. Chickweed just takes over and is a huge problem here. Dandelion is not a driver weed for me,” he says.
With 2,300 preemergence customers and eight employees, Lawn Plus is extremely busy in the early spring when the company is under tremendous pressure to get its first applications made.
“We try to get 100 lawns done per day, and from a business standpoint, we want them done as soon as possible,” he says. Lawn Plus specializes in seeding, so Creech wanted to complete his first applications quickly so he could get his crews out to start seeding lawns.
Creech and his crews made their first applications of Dimension 2EW plus Defendor on March 14 when air temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. They did a blanket spray on large residential lawns averaging 26,000 square feet. Defendor was applied at the labeled rate of 4 oz./A to cool-season turf varieties of mostly tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
“We definitely saw a huge difference. You could almost see a line where we sprayed and where we didn’t. We had excellent chickweed control,” Creech says.
One of Creech’s customers is very knowledgeable about lawn care and called him a few weeks after the first application. “He said, ‘You won’t believe it. That crabgrass killer killed the chickweed, too. I didn’t know crabgrass preventer took care of chickweed.’” Creech had to explain that, in addition to Dimension 2EW, he also applied Defendor to his lawn. He definitely wants me to use it again next year,” he says.
Defendor specialty herbicide provides effective postemergence control of both annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, including dandelion, clover, chickweed, common groundsel, dollarweed and many more. It can be tank-mixed with Dimension 2EW and applied at the same time turf managers are putting down the first fertilizer and preemergence applications of the season.
State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor and Dimension 2EW apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details.