Lawn care operators in Colorado and Idaho tried Defendor™ specialty herbicide in spring 2013. Much to their surprise, Defendor not only provided early season control of high-anxiety weeds but also prevented the dreaded dandelion bloom. Read on to learn how Defendor enhanced their operations and increased customer satisfaction.
No More Callbacks
David Gibson, owner of Ultra-Lawn in Post Falls, Idaho, doesn’t equate the arrival of spring with crabgrass. It’s not a problem in the area, so preemergence herbicides aren’t a common tool for weed control.
“We rely heavily on postemergence herbicides and fertilizers,” he says. “The problem we have in spring is that the ground stays cold, so we put down fertilizer first. Then we get a week of warm weather, followed by a sea of dandelions. That’s when we get a lot of calls from customers complaining about weed issues.”
Last March, Gibson applied Defendor with the first round of fertilizer treatments on about 225 properties, ranging from 1,000 to 140,000 square feet. Applications were made with the soil temperature in the low 40s and the air temperature around 45 F during the day and close to freezing at night.
“After applying Defendor, we didn’t get one single callback,” Gibson says. “It was very exciting for us, because a callback is money out of our pocket.
“Defendor gives us more options, and as long as the end result is there for our customers, they don’t care how we get there.”
With more testing, Gibson sees Defendor™ specialty herbicide fitting into their fall weed control program.
“Defendor allows us to be proactive and avoid customer complaints,” he says. “We were able to do it right the first time.”
100 Percent Control
The first year Steve Geist tried Defendor, he applied it to his own vacation property in Cripple Creek, Colo., where the elevation is high and the spring season is short.
“The dandelions have been a source of annoyance here for the past 20 years,” says Geist, senior consulting arborist for Swingle Lawn, Tree & Landscape Care, where he is responsible for testing pesticides and developing new programs.
On May 5, 2013, Defendor was applied to a 1,000-square-foot plot at 4 oz./A in a gallon of water. The air temperature was in the low 40s, and the soil temperature was around 35 F.
“I wanted to see if Defendor was active and effective in cooler temperatures,” he says. “Dandelions were just starting to emerge, but hadn’t yet flowered.
“I wasn’t sure if it would work, since the dandelions were close to blooming, but Defendor stopped the development. At this particular location, the dandelions were prevented for the first time in 20 years.”
That year, a dry spring was followed by a wet summer. Even with the inconsistent weather, Geist says, he saw 100 percent control the entire season.
“Now I have time for other things, and my neighbors appreciate it, too.”
Dandelions show up early in the season, so Geist says they are thinking there’s an opportunity to apply Defendor™ specialty herbicide in the fall.
“If we apply Defendor to our customer’s properties and continue to see similar results, our customers would have zero dandelions.”
Defendor is currently sold in a “Value Pak” with Dimension® 2EW specialty herbicide.
State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor and Dimension 2EW apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details.