Spring can’t come soon enough for much of the country that endures long winters. However, lawn care operators (LCOs) are not awoken with the sound of birds chirping but rather a throbbing headache and a need to race against the clock – or more accurately – to race against Mother Nature.
“There is a lot of pressure on LCOs to get those first fertilizer and preemergence applications of the season made before the crabgrass germinates,” Jamie Breuninger, technical leader for Dow AgroSciences, said. “The window of opportunity is slim, and they need to get to all their customers before the weather warms and the phone starts ringing with customers complaining about weeds.”
Pressure continues to build as the next big weed to make an appearance is likely the most dreaded of all — the dandelion. With its conspicuous bright-yellow blossom, it is one of the most hated by homeowners nationwide.
According to recent research conducted by Jefferson Davis, once a customer calls a lawn care company to complain, the likelihood the customer will cancel the service is more than 45 percent1 — even if the lawn care company comes out to re-treat.
Timing is everything
Timing of the first application of the season is critical. For effective preemergence control, LCOs need to make that first application in the spring before weeds begin to germinate. So, while they’re racing to get the first applications made to provide their customers’ lawns with a quick greenup and prevent crabgrass, dandelion, chickweed and clover, which have overwintered, are just waiting to bloom.
A new tool
There are many effective products on the market to control dandelions, but they typically should be applied later in spring or summer when the temperatures rise and the weeds are actively growing. What if there was a way to treat dandelion, as well as clover and other annual and perennial weeds, during the first applications of the season? Defendor® specialty herbicide is most effective when applied early in the season before dandelion and clover bloom.
“Defendor acts somewhat like a growth regulator when applied pre-bloom, because it stops the emergence of the dandelion seed head while the herbicide slowly controls the plant,” Breuninger explained. “The end result keeps the declining weed below mower height and nearly invisible to the homeowner. This weed often has a large taproot, so a second application in round two may be needed for total control, but this gives the LCOs more time to control them without ever going to flower.”
Defendor, with the active ingredient florasulam, is a liquid postemergence herbicide that can be tank-mixed with Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide and applied at the same time your customers are putting down the first fertilizer and preemergence crabgrass applications of the season. The combination can be used on both cool- and warm-season grasses.
“The fact that there aren’t yellow blooms and seed heads covering their lawns greatly increases homeowner satisfaction with their lawn service company,” Breuninger said. “And it buys them more time to finish up the first application and come back with the postemergence second application.”
1Jefferson Davis 2012
State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor and Dimension 2EW apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.