Take Advantage Of Adjuvants

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Silicone Surfactants

Silicone surfactants are silicone-based and provide a tremendous reduction in water surface tension at very low concentrations. Typical concentrations range from 0.10 to 0.25% on a volume/volume basis.


Stickers are adjuvants that cause the pesticide to adhere or stick to the target. They may be measured in terms of resistance to time, wind, water, mechanical action or chemical action. Stickers prevent runoff of the spray mixture from the target vegetation. By increasing the amount of spray remaining in contact with the vegetation and increasing the contact time of the herbicide, the desired result is an increase in the effectiveness of a pesticide application.

Compatibility Agents

These products allow simultaneous application of liquid fertilizer and agrichemical, or two or more agrichemical formulations, as a uniform tank mix. These products prevent the formation of clumps and are used primarily when the carrier solution is a liquid fertilizer. When several agrichemicals are combined it is always recommended to do a compatibility test in a jar to determine the stability of the mixture. If any clumping, separation, thickening, and heat release occur there is an incompatibility problem, the different agrichemicals should not be mixed together. The procedure for a compatibility test is often outlined on a pesticide label. 

Acidifiers And Buffers

An acidifier is added to a mixture to lower the pH. On the other hand, buffers are compounds that when combined in solutions cause the spray mix to resist changes in pH. Buffers have a characteristic limited range of pH over which they are effective, they can change the pH of a water solution to a certain level, which will be maintained even if the pH of the solution changes. Acidifiers do not have a buffering action. Most pesticide solutions or suspensions are stable between pH 5.5 and pH 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral). Above pH of 7.0 or higher, pesticides may be subject to degradation. Water pH in Florida is usually pH 7.0 or higher making some pesticides highly susceptible to degradation. Acidifiers and buffers must be added to the tank mix water first. The water must be neutralized or acidified prior to adding pesticides and adjuvants. Check the product label to determine if the pH of the water may impact the stability of the agrichemicals to be used.

Anti-foaming Agents And Spray Colorants

These are products used to inhibit or prevent the formation of foam when pesticide mixtures undergo mixing or agitation in the spray tank. Anti-foaming agents should be added as the tank is being filled for better results. On the other hand, spray colorants are used so that the pesticide applicator can see the areas that have been treated in the field and prevent overlap.

Elena M. Toro is an agriculture/natural resources Extension agent at the UF/IFAS Suwannee County office in Live Oak.


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3 comments on “Take Advantage Of Adjuvants

  1. Chris W. Lundy

    I completed this test on July 26, 2012 but have not received notificiation of completion from you. Kindly let me know when I can expect to receive notification. If, for some reason, there was a problem with my submission and you do not have it, please let me know that as well and I will resubmit. Thanks

  2. William R. Carr

    I completed series 38 test on 9/9/2012 but have not received notificiation from anyone regarding completion of test and or results. Kindly let me know when I can expect to be awarded the core points as my renewal is coming up in November, 2012. Thank you Wm. R. Carr