You have not viewed any products recently.
Michigan State University Extension
Most pesticides are sold in concentrated form and have to be dissolved or suspended in water before they can be applied to crops. This water can come from various sources, such as wells, ponds, rivers, or municipal water supplies. Water naturally varies in the amount of dissolved minerals, organic matter and pH, depending on its source. The pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of water, which refers to the number of hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH¯) ions in a solution. The scale for measuring pH runs from zero to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution, while a higher pH indicates that the solution is more alkaline. Water at pH 7 is neutral, meaning there are an equal number of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the solution. Many areas in Michigan have alkaline water with high mineral/iron content. In addition, the pH of water from natural sources can vary throughout the season.
The pH of water can negatively affect the stability of some pesticides. Under alkaline conditions, alkaline hydrolysis occurs which degrades the pesticide to non-toxic (inactive) forms. In general, insecticides (particularly organophosphates and carbamates) are more susceptible to alkaline hydrolysis than are fungicides, herbicides or growth regulators. The end result is less active ingredient applied and poor pesticide performance. The degradation of a pesticide can be measured in terms of its half life. For example, if a product has a half life of one hour, the amount of active ingredient is reduced to 50 percent in one hour, to 25 percent in the next hour, to 12.5 percent in the next hour, etc. Eventually, the pesticide becomes virtually ineffective. The effect of pH on pesticides varies from product to product and is also moderated by buffering solutions contained in the pesticide formulation. Tank-mixing multiple pesticides can modify the pH of the tank-mix.
The accompanying table shows the half life of a number of pesticide products as well as the optimum pH (where known). As you can see from the table, most pesticides are most stable when the spray solution is at a pH of about five. As many water sources are more alkaline than this, it may be necessary to adjust the pH of the spray solution. Do not attempt to acidify solutions containing copper-based fungicides, since copper becomes more soluble at a lower pH and may become phytotoxic to crops. In addition, phosphorous acid and other acid-based fungicides should not be acidified since they already have a low pH and lowering it could cause phytotoxicity. On the other hand, acidifying carbonate salt fungicides, such as Armicarb, may render them ineffective.
Half Life / Time until 50% Hydrolysis**
Greater than 31 days at pH 5 - 9
Stable at pH 5 - 9
Stable at pH 6 - 8
pH 7 = 34 hrs; pH 9.2 = 4.8 hrs
5 - 6
Unstable at pH below 4 and above 7
Stable for 3 days at pH 5 – 10
Not stable in alkaline water; use within 4 hrs of mixing.
pH 4 = 20 hrs; pH 6 = 12 hrs; pH 9 = 48 min
pH 9 = 39 hours
pH 5 = 2 wks; pH 7 = 10 wks; pH 8 = 3 wks; pH 9 = 29 days
Unstable at pH above 8
pH 6 = 3.7 days; pH 7 = 6.5 hrs; pH 8 = 63 min
70% loss after 7 days at pH 7.3 – 8
pH 6 = 8 days; pH 9 = 78 hrs
pH 5 = 17 days; pH 7 = 10 days; pH 9 = 12 hrs
pH 5 = 7 days; pH 7 < 12 hrs; pH 8 = 4 hrs
pH 5 = 20 days; pH 7 = 5 days; pH 9 = 1hr
Stable at pH below 7
pH 5 = 63 days; pH 7 = 35 days; pH 8 = 1.5 days
pH 6 = 8 days; pH 7 = 3 days; pH 8 = 19 hrs; pH 9 = 5 hrs
pH 6 = 30 days; pH 9 = 1 - 2 days
pH 5 = 35 hrs; pH 7 = 15 hrs; pH 9 = 1.5 hrs
Effectiveness reduced at pH above 7
pH 5 = 55 days; pH 7 = 17 days; pH 9 = 3 days
pH 5.7 to 7.7 is optimal
Stable at pH 4 – 9
pH 6 = 100 days; pH 7 = 24 days; pH 8 = 2.5 days; pH 9 = 1 day
Stable at pH 5 – 7; pH 9 = 200 days
70% loss after 7 days at pH 7.3 to 8
Stable at pH 5 – 7; pH 9 = 9 days
Stable at pH 4.0 to 8.0
pH 5 = 80 hrs; pH 6 = 7 hrs; pH 7 = 1 hr; pH 9 = 45 min
Stable over a wide range of pH values
pH 5 = 32 hrs; pH 7 = 8 hrs; pH 8 = 10 min
pH 5 = 20 days; pH 7 = 17 hrs; pH 9 = 34 hrs
Not affected by pH
pH 5 – 9 = more than 4 weeks
Chemical breakdown could take place at high pH
Stable at pH 5 – 9
Stable at pH 5 - 6
pH 4.5 = 455 days; pH 7 = 147 days; pH 9 = 17 days
Not stable at pH above 7
Stable at pH 4.0 to 10
pH 4.5 = 20 days; pH 5 = 96 days; pH 9 = 24 days
Very stable over a wide range of pH values
Stable at pH 4.5 to 7
Check the pH of the water used for spraying pesticides frequently throughout the season. If you know that your water has a pH of 7.5 or greater, consider lowering the pH, especially if you are applying a pesticide that is sensitive to high pH. The fastest way to determine the pH level of water is to test it with a pH meter or test paper. Paper test strips are the least expensive; however, they can be unreliable and can vary by as much as two pH points. A pH meter will provide the most reliable and consistent readings. Meters are available commercially for $50 to $400.
Adjust the water pH by using a commercially available acidifying/buffering agent before adding the pesticide. Buffering agents, such as Buffercide, Buffer-X, Unifilm B, and LI 700 Acidiphactant, will stabilize a spray solution at a predetermined pH and keep it at that level. Read and closely follow the directions on the label of the buffering agent and make sure that the solution is stirred well before taking a pH measurement. While a pH of five may be optimal, a pH of six is usually satisfactory for many pesticides, especially if they will be sprayed out immediately after mixing. Some buffering agents such as pHase5 or PHT indicate five will have a color indicator when the correct pH is achieved. Growers can add this product into the water until it reaches the color that indicates a given pH. For example, five = pink or red; six = orange; etc. Granulated food grade citric acid may be the most convenient and inexpensive acidifying material and is available in 50-pound bags from suppliers that handle food grade chemicals. Two ounces per 100 gallons has been shown to reduce the pH of tap water from 8.3 to 5.4.
When tank mixing multiple pesticides or foliar fertilizers, check the pH after the products have been thoroughly mixed and adjust the pH as needed. Not all pesticides react the same to the pH of the spray water solution and some products should not be used with buffering agents. Always read pesticide labels for any precautions with respect to pH and potential product incompatibility issues. Apply pesticides soon after mixing and avoid leaving pesticide tank mixes in the spray tank overnight.
This article is by Dr. Annemiek Schilder of Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant Pathologyis. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu