• Call (800) 479-6583
  • Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
  • |
  • Sat 9am-5pm

Spray Pattern IndicatorAdjuvants, Dyes & Spray Pattern Indicators

A helpful couple of tools when it comes to weed management are adjuvants and dyes. Adjuvants are commonly used in agriculture to help improve the performance of weed killers and by definition it is anything that is used to helps to strengthen the effectiveness of the principal active ingredient in a pesticide or herbicide. An adjuvant can be any number of things, but in this case, we’re talking about dyes which function as an adjuvant to pesticides and herbicides.  

Enhance Your Herbicide Application

Dyes--in particular, marking dyes--are helpful when it comes to weed management in that they make the process more efficient by being a clear indicator of where herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals have been sprayed to prevent overspraying from happening or the applicator forgetting where they have already sprayed.

Solutions Pest and Lawn carries these helpful tools in stock to aid and enhance the efficiency of your lawn maintenance and weed-killing program. Adding a marking dye to your herbicide or pesticide application will save you time and money and ensure you that your application is done right the first time around.

Adjuvant Recommendations:Marking Dye

Marking dye is very simple to use and mix with your herbicide of choice. Simply mix 10-20 ml per liter of herbicide. Shake well to ensure it mixes thoroughly with your preferred herbicide or fungicide before adding to a tank or sprayer.


We recommend mixing frequently during application to ensure that the solution stays agitated.


Please use the proper safety equipment when mixing adjuvants and dyes. We recommend wearing protective gloves and eyewear as well as a mask to prevent chemicals from coming in contact with skin, eyes and nasal passages.

Feel free to browse our products below. Should you need any help, we offer expert advice in our online knowledge base which details how to use our various products and we can also help you over the phone with our trained representative who can guide you through each step of the pest elimination process using a duster. You can also contact us via email at
askapro@solutionsstores.com or call (800) 479-6583 for assistance with your order.


Learn More About Adjuvants

There are a variety of herbicide products that you can use to manage plants on your lawn, farm, or landscape but the question may arise, “Is there anything you can add to the herbicide that can make it work better?” The answer to this question is a chemical known as adjuvants.


Often we get phone calls and emails from frustrated lawn owners, farmers or landscapers every year who say that their herbicide of choice, be it RoundUp, or some other herbicide just isn’t working the way that it should and what we are finding are these people are simply just going out and spraying the product and doing nothing more.


The marketing for some herbicides may mislead some people saying that it’s ready to use or “fully-loaded” and doesn’t specify that there is anything else needed to assist the herbicide active ingredient.


What an adjuvant essentially is is a sort of enhancement chemical that will improve the effectiveness of a herbicide chemical, making it kill more undesirable weeds more efficiently and quickly.


Surfactant useThe Role And Significance of Adjuvant Substances In Weed Control

Adjuvants are chemical compounds which can be mixed into a herbicide spray solution to enhance the effectiveness of the herbicide and boost its performance. The word “adjuvant” is a catch-all term which describes a number of different chemical enhancements such as non-ionic surfactants, crop oils, organosilicones, anti-foaming agents, drift retardants, compatibility agents, spray buffers and spray pattern indicators or dyes among others.


Adjuvants can improve the effectiveness of a herbicide via modifying the herbicide solution to be able to apply more evenly on the plant or to reduce the surface tension of a plant (known commonly as spreaders and stickers).


SHOP NOW: Kill Weeds On Your Lawn With Our Pre and Post Emergent Herbicide Products.


Adjuvants can also boost the penetration of the herbicide it’s mixed with to the cuticle of the targeted plant, make the herbicide active ingredient stronger, and/or reduce any problems associated with herbicide solution.


In some herbicide formulations, adjuvants are already included in the formula while others are sold separately and recommended to be added to a herbicide solution before applying it to the targeted plantlife. It is very important to read the instructional label on the herbicide for any information in regards to whether adjuvants can be added to the product or any other important details when mixing a recommended adjuvant.


The History Of Adjuvants In Weed Control and Plant Management

For over 100 years, pesticide applicators have been mixing adjuvants with their herbicides for the purpose of modifying the mode of action of the chemical to make it perform better or produce quicker results.


Much like the water that is mixed with the herbicide solutions, the adjuvants are mixed with the herbicide in a small amount and depending on the type of adjuvant, it would produce a different result such as making the mixture spray with less drift, helping the product to stick better to leaves, to ensure even coating and coverage, or in the case of marking dyes (spray pattern indicators), making it so the applicator knows they have sprayed over an area so they won’t over spray.


Early versions of adjuvants were made using whale oils which were intended to cause the herbicide chemicals to stick better to targeted weeds. By the middle of the 20th century, soaps and detergents served as popular adjuvants in the form of surfactants.


Scientific research conducted in the 1950s and onward led to the creation of more sophisticated adjuvants containing a variety of different ingredients.


Classifications of Adjuvants

Adjuvants can be classified in a number of ways. For instance, you can group adjuvants by:

- function (activator or utility)

- chemistry (such as organosilicones)

- source (vegetable or petroleum oils)


These classifications may make it difficult by a novice when it comes to what adjuvant to select in different scenarios.

Adding an adjuvant to a herbicide solution makes it convenient for an applicator to customize their herbicides for any undesirable situation which may arise that needs addressing. Unfortunately, at this time there is no type of adjuvant that is universal and can boost the performance of weeds under every kind of circumstance.

While adjuvants do indeed enhance herbicide performance under unfavorable weather conditions, they are not a substitute for ideal weather or growing conditions. Factors such as humidity in the air, and how it can impact plant development and metabolic processes, will greatly hinder the effectiveness of a herbicide no matter if an adjuvant has been mixed with it to improve performance.

Surfactants: A Popular Type of AdjuvantSurfactants

Surfactants, also known as surface-acting agents, cover a wide category of adjuvants which improve the absorption, spreading, sticking and penetrating abilities of the herbicide it is mixed with. Surfactants are primarily mixed with herbicides to ensure better coverage of the herbicide product on a leaf surface.


Due to the high surface tension of water, when a liquid is sprayed onto a plant, they turn into droplets and can bounce or roll off of the plant surface or be broken down by sunlight. A surfactant helps mainly by reducing the surface tension of the liquid mixture making it so the spray droplets will spread beyond their initial contact area.


Increasing the coverage area increases herbicide absorption. Surfactants known as stickers are materials which can increase the likelihood that the spray droplets “stick” to the leaf surface. Stickers are usually made up of water-soluble polymers, acrylic latex or resins. Wetting or spreading agents are often combined with stickers to improve plant coverage.

Surfactants can be further divided down into two main categories: Non-ionic surfactants and the silicone/organosilicon compounds. Below we will touch on these two categories:

Non-Ionic SurfactantsNonionic

Made up mainly of alcohols and fatty acids, non-ionic surfactants contain no electrical charge and can be safely mixed with a variety of different herbicides. Non-ionic surfactants can be used for any purpose and are most widely recommended with some herbicides used for weed control on residential areas, farms as well as ranges and pastures.

Pros of Using Non-Ionic Surfactants

- Reduced surface tension of the spray solution and increased coverage and wetting ability of the applied spray.

- Can be used universally with many different herbicides

- More affordable than other types of surfactants

- Remains effective in cold water

Cons of Using Non-Ionic Surfactants

- May not fix issues associated with water quality such as pH or hard water minerals.

Silicone-Based SurfactantsSilicone Base

Also known as organosilicones, silicone-based surfactants have excellent spreading power. Some silicone-based surfactants are a combination of non-ionic surfactant or methylated seed oil (MSO) and an organosilicone, whereas others are solely made with organosilicone.


The tandem of a non-ionic surfactant or methylated seed oil and an organosilicone surfactant can improve plant absorption of a herbicide and may eliminate the need for a long period without rainfall after application of the herbicide mixture.


We recommend being extra careful when applying silicones. This type of surfactant has such a powerful ability to spread that it may lead to droplet coalescence and subsequent runoff.  Regardless, organosilicone surfactants have potential to allow good coverage by chemical rather than by physical means of using high volumes of carrier. Organosilicone surfactants are weed and herbicide specific just like other adjuvants.

LOOK HERE: Check Out Our Products For Grassy Weed Control

Pros of Silicone-based Adjuvants

- Reduced spray droplet “bounce” from plants

- Enhanced coverage of low spray application volumes

- Increased rate and amount of herbicide solution absorbed by plants


Cons of Silicone-Based Adjuvants

- Increased rate of spray droplet evaporation

- Can be a hazard when exposed to eyes

- Has potential to produce high amounts of foam

- Poor stability in low pH solutions

- Spray solution droplet coalescence and possible runoff from the leaf surface


Spray Pattern Indicator or Marking Dye

Another type of adjuvant is spray pattern indicator or marking dye. These can be mixed with any weed killer to help you see the areas you have sprayed and prevents overspraying from occurring which can burn or overdose an area and create lots of deadness.


Marking dye also helps to reduce waste of herbicide product. These dyes come in colors that differ from the greenery so you could clearly see the marked areas such as blue, lime green or orange.


To use spray marking dye, read the product label to determine how much of the product you will need. After that, you simply fill the sprayer with the required amount of water and then measure the amount of dye needed then pour it into a sprayer and agitate your sprayer gently to ensure it is thoroughly mixed.


The dye will stay in areas until it rains or until it degrades from the sun.

CLICK HERE: Marking Dyes Are Great Companions for Tree And Brush Control




How to Properly Select an Adjuvant

Herbicides vary greatly in their chemical properties and as a result, they can differ in what can be allowed or discourage from mixing with it when it comes to additives like adjuvants. The best way to find out what type of adjuvant you can use with the herbicide is the instructional label the comes on the herbicide product.


Herbicide manufacturers conduct exhaustive research to determine what can be mixed with their products without hindering their effectiveness, so please refer to the label information. Some herbicides contain adjuvants already in the formulated product so there may be no need to mix anything with the herbicide.


There are instructional labels which may contain very specific recommendations on what type of adjuvants you should use when mixing with the herbicide. Again this why you should read the recommendation label carefully to get the specifics.

Since there is such a large variety of adjuvants available on the market to be mixed with herbicides, you may be unsure of how you can know whether a specific adjuvant product will perform the way it should.


This is why you should analyze the situation you are dealing with and then use your best judgment in determining what adjuvant will work best with the active ingredient of the herbicide you wish to use.

Question You Should Ask Yourself Before Using an Adjuvant

Are the weather conditions ideal for applying an herbicide?

If you have hot and dry weather conditions on the horizon, this will not be favorable for applying herbicides and can hinder its effectiveness whether you use an adjuvant or not. If you still want to apply an herbicide in unfavorable conditions, an adjuvant may or may not boost performance.

Is Rain On The Forecast Soon?

When it comes to being rainfall, not all adjuvants will work well if rainfall is expected after application. There are types of adjuvants however which are “rainfast” or can maintain their quality and function through rainfall such as esterified seed oils, organosilicones, and most nitrogen-surfactant blends.

What is the texture of the plant you want to protect or the plant you want to control?

Plants that have a thick and waxy texture, are more hairy or narrow-leafed are generally less susceptible to herbicide phytotoxicity than broad-leafed plants with little or no hair. Use of an adjuvant may enhance herbicide performance where the leaf surface is thick and waxy, hairy, or narrow-leafed. In addition to improving the herbicidal activity on weeds, adjuvants can also enhance the potential for increased phytotoxicity on desirable plants.

What type of water will you be mixing with your herbicide/adjuvant?

Hard or soft water or low or high pH are big factors in affecting herbicide performance and may require the use of adjuvants to improve the effectiveness of the product.

What method of application will you be carrying out with your herbicide?

In other words, how are you going to approach applying your herbicide product. There are a number of different ways you can go about it: foliar spot-spray, broadcast boom application, cut-stump or hack, and squirt. If you’re in need of the herbicide to penetrate through the leaf cuticle, you may need a specific adjuvant to help during application.

If you are mixing two different herbicides, will they be compatible with an adjuvant?

In this case, you need to read your herbicide label carefully to know what you should or shouldn’t mix and what will happen if you add an adjuvant to the mixture.

Do you have the Budget For it?

The costs of adjuvants can vary depending on what you’re looking for. Generally, non-ionic surfactants and crop oil concentrates are the least expensive of the surfactant classes, followed by nitrogen-surfactant blends, esterified seed oils, and organosilicones.


To sum it all up, adjuvants are a great help in boosting the performance of herbicides in situations where weather condition are not ideal or when the herbicide on its own is not doing the trick.


For more info on the benefits of the adjuvants and marking dyes we carry, please do not hesitate to reach out to use via our various modes of contact. You can call us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or send us an email or Facebook message!


Reference: https://www.techlinenews.com/herbicides/adjuvants2014

Contact Us