There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to turf management. Sometimes a product does the job on its own, and in other cases, a tank mix is preferred.
Tank mixing is a common practice turf professionals use that can provide many benefits to their turf management program and business. However, tank mixing can also lead to a variety of mishaps if not done correctly. Being aware of the benefits and risks while following the proper guidelines is critical to ensuring the success of any tank mix procedure and application.
Tank Mixing Benefits:
- Speed of Control: In some cases, tank mixes can increase the speed of control on certain pests, turf diseases and weeds. QuickSilver® herbicide is a very common product that turf professionals add to common three-way broadleaf herbicides to increase speed of control. Furthermore, use of QuickSilver can lead to the next benefit, enhancement, by enabling lower application rates of the broadleaf tank mix partner.
- Enhancement: Combined treatments can deliver greater efficacy than if the treatments were applied individually and may also allow for lower application rates to be used.
- Convenience: Tank mixing can save your business time, labor and money by combining two or more products into a single spray solution and making one application as opposed to multiple applications.
- Broad Spectrum Control: By combining complementary products, a wider variety of pests, turf diseases or weeds can be treated in a single application.
- Improvement: Sometimes, a product may deliver good performance with some undesirable side effects, like bleaching. Certain tank mixes for example, QuickSilver + Syngenta’s Tenacity™ herbicide, can be used together to reduce the occurrence of these bleaching issues than can happen with an application of Tenacity by itself.
Tank Mixing Risks:
- Antagonism: Chemical factors between the compounds can interfere with one another, causing the mixture to be less effective than when the individual products are used alone.
- Physical Incompatibility: If two products aren’t physically compatible, the mixture can become unstable. Crystals, flakes or sludge can form, clogging spray equipment.
- Chemical Incompatibility: The deactivation of an active ingredient can sometimes occur when two or more compounds are mixed together that aren’t chemically compatible.
- Phytotoxicity: In some cases, turf might be sensitive to a certain chemical. If phytoxicity occurs after a tank mix application, it might be more difficult to determine which chemical caused the reaction.
To avoid mishaps and ensure you get the best results with a tank mix, follow these guidelines:
- Always wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment to avoid injury. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that all product labels contain instructions regarding the necessary PPE to be worn when handling, preparing, mixing and applying products.
- Read product labels before you begin a tank mix. Product labels give you information on what chemicals to avoid and the potential problems that may occur. It is also crucial to stay current with all label changes. If you are still unsure about mixing one product with another, contact the manufacturer’s product specialist or sales person.
- Mix the components in the exact order the label specifies. In some cases, the compatibility of two or more chemicals is based on the order in which they are added to the tank mix. Here’s an easy-to-remember acronym that will help you to remember correct tank mixing order:
- Perform a jar test before filling the tank. This will ensure you have the correct mixing order and help you determine if there are any physical incompatibilities.
- If you are trying a tank mix for the first time, make a test application on a small part of the target site. Wait a few days to determine if any negative effects are present, such as lack of efficacy or phytotoxicity.
- Make the application as soon as possible after mixing two or more products. Certain chemicals can change or degrade after several hours, which can lead to incompatibility and reduced effectiveness.
- After your application is complete, thoroughly clean your tank and other equipment to prevent residue from affecting your next application.
Tank mixing can be very beneficial to your business, but getting the best results and avoiding serious pitfalls requires knowledge, good judgment and strict adherence to label directions. What are your experiences with tank mixing? Have you found success or have you run into problems?
Share your story with us in the comments below.