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July 24, 2019 -  By
Photo courtesy of Corteva Agriscience

Photo courtesy of Corteva Agriscience

Late-fall herbicide applications give lawn care operators a head start on springtime weeds.

“The only predictable thing about spring,” says Yusif Jaouni, “is that it’s not predictable.”

For those in the green industry, no truer words have been spoken. Lawn care operators never know exactly what elements they will be up against once the busy spring season begins. Because of this, Jaouni, territory manager for Corteva Agriscience, suggests LCOs get a head start on controlling springtime weeds in the fall using different products and strategies.

Yusif Jaouni

Yusif Jaouni

“To help minimize the stresses of spring, some of the most effective weed control applications are done in the fall,” Jaouni explains. “The goal of a fall application is to get the product’s active ingredient to tag along with the sugars and carbohydrates that are being pushed down by the plant during winter. This limits the regrowth and lack of control we may see when applications are applied in the summer.”

Jaouni recommends applying a product like Defendor® specialty herbicide in the late fall to help control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like clover, chickweed and dandelions, the most widely identifiable springtime weeds. Defendor is a postemergence product effective in late fall and early spring. Because dandelions are still actively growing in the fall, Jaouni says treating them at this susceptible stage is an effective control strategy. Defendor also provides dandelion bloom suppression as the plant is dying off for added callback reductions. Jaouni adds that Defendor is one of the few herbicides designed to perform in cold temperatures, a time when most other postemergence herbicides aren’t as effective.

“Dandelions are the most widely identifiable weed there is — that yellow flower is typically the biggest cause of callbacks in the spring,” Jaouni says. “The best time for LCOs to take advantage of all the benefits of Defendor are during late-fall applications before ground freeze. Treating weeds at this time helps control them when they are susceptible, and also when LCOs aren’t fighting the hassles of spring.”

Jaouni says late-fall applications are a good way to control a number of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, including clover and chickweed. In fact, summertime’s hot, dry conditions often make for an inopportune time for weed control.

“Summer is often the worst time to treat some weeds — they tend to harden off or develop a waxy cuticle,” Jaouni says. “By making applications in the fall, you lay the groundwork for a less stressful spring the next year.”

Photo courtesy of Corteva Agriscience

Photo courtesy of Corteva Agriscience

While Defendor is not labeled to control ground ivy or wild violet, Jaouni says the most effective time to control these problematic weeds is in the fall with herbicides containing triclopyr, such as Turflon® Ester Ultra specialty herbicide. Because Defendor can be applied in late fall, it is a good tank-mix partner with Turflon Ester Ultra to help control the most costly and problematic weeds.

“Ground ivy and wild violet seem to be bigger and bigger issues for LCOs,” he says. “Applying Defendor and Turflon Ester Ultra together in the fall to control three tough to control and high anxiety weeds, reduces the unpredictability of spring and replaces it with profitability.”

Jaouni says that providing fall weed control can be a way for LCOs to differentiate themselves in the industry. Marketing fall weed control services to customers and beginning the contract resigning process at this time of year relieves some of the pressures that come with the busy spring season and gets business locked down sooner.

“As soon as the first of year starts, there is a big push to start resigning customers and securing business contracts for the year,” Jaouni says. “With fall applications, you can shift some of your headaches and focus out of the spring and back to the fall, which is typically a more predictable and less stressful time of year for LCOs. This time saved in the spring as a result of applying Defendor in the fall, can then potentially be used to grow your customer base.”

“Years like this, when it’s rained more days in Pennsylvania and Ohio than it has in Seattle, are tough on LCOs,” Jaouni adds. “By eliminating the weeds before they emerge, you eliminate the call backs, which leads to increased efficiency and, ultimately, increased profits.

™®Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor and Turflon Ester Ultra apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.
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