Colorants, Pigments, and Dye
As research comes out yearly, colorants, pigments, and dyes are being used more than ever before. Each category has a specific use around the course, but all of them can be tank-mixed with fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and wetting agents to resist the fading effects of UV sunlight on the products you use. They improve turf appearance and quality and give a consistent look year-round. Although natural turf is nice, these products can mask discoloration due to stress, cultivar variance, and phytotoxicity.
Colorants are for winter use or use with extended periods without mowing. They are made by mixing pigments and dyes to hold color for as long as possible. However, they can be mowed off.
Pigments are built to mask what is covered, making everything sprayed look as close to the same as possible.
Dyes help you see where you are spraying to alleviate overlap and skips. They are also non-staining and don’t last more than a few days. These are used in large acreage places and spot spray applications.
Throughout the seasons, different diseases come up. Therefore, we control them with various fungicides. We deal with numerous weeds depending on the time of year, calling for us to use different herbicides. With the weather changing throughout the year and the sun angle changing as much as it does (both causing the turf to grow differently), why would we use the same colorants, pigments, and dyes?
Spring and fall are the bookends to the playing season, but this comes with some stress. The turf deals with a lack of sunlight due to shorter days and frost that causes unfavorable constant growth between cultivars. Optimizer is a pigment that makes the most of the limited sunlight and warms up the surface to aid in early and late-season growth. It also helps mask the differences in cultivars that may be growing within a green surface.
Summertime is when the course has the bulk of the public eye on it. It is also a time when the turf is going through drought, localized dry spot, and discoloration due to diseases. This is also when your chemicals break down due to intense UVs. Solarous is a pigment with chromatic reflective ingredients that increase UV reflectance for plant protection during stressful conditions.
Winter is when the turf has long periods without mowing and cold temperatures, causing ice and snow to linger on dormant turf. Activo is a colorant that consists of activator adjuvant and pigment built to get the turf through the winter. This improves the fungicides used over the winter and has a long-lasting color that aids the sun in breaking down snow and ice on turf.
Every label comes with a wide range of rates on it. They are very concentrated, anywhere from .25 oz to 1.5 oz. When you receive a new product, you should always try the product in a small area to dial in the rate to hit the desired level. One applicator could be at a .5 oz./acre and another at a glug an acre. Whichever you choose, pick the right product for the season.
These products can save applications by not losing days between spray intervals. They can save rates by getting the most out of the products you use. They can also provide aesthetic consistency from hole to hole.