The ‘Polky-Dotted Dalmatian’ Dilemma

Customers of Herbi-Systems, Inc. in Memphis, Tenn., hate weeds. All weeds. Especially nutsedge. Why nutsedge? Because until recently, controlling nutsedge in otherwise lush, beautiful lawns meant leaving those lawns looking like, “polky-dotted Dalmatians.” That’s according to General Manager Carl Quick.

“Nutsedge was just killing us a few years ago,” says Quick. “Our customers wouldn’t tolerate the nutsedge and demanded treatment. But the only effective herbicides we had back then blew holes in the turf, so we lost customers due to turf damage.”

Herbi-Systems was also hampered by the fact that those products – Image™, Basagran™, and MSMA, needed hot weather to perform well. When yellow nutsedge emerged in early April, the company told customers there was nothing they could do until it got hot.

That was until Quick and Herbi-Systems president Kenny Crenshaw discovered Manage® herbicide by Monsanto.

“I don’t usually get excited about new products,” Crenshaw insists. “But Manage came out of the blue and totally eclipsed every other product we had for nutgrass control. It was and is a godsend for us. It doesn’t damage yards and we get great control of labeled weeds.”

The company “went through Manage like it was candy” the first year, applying a minimum of four to five 1 1/3 ounce bottles every week. Today the product, which now enjoys its own line on the Herbi-Systems annual budget, has freed the progressive company to make changes in other areas of its application program to improve customer satisfaction.

“Before Manage, we relied on preemergence applications of Pennant™ herbicide, which was excellent on yellow nutsedge, but missed purple. So we still had to use Image postemergence, which was just torching the grass.”

Quick, who’s especially pleased with the low use rates and user safety of Manage, says his employees are comfortable using the product. The number one benefit, though, is that it controls nutsedge without leaving customers’ lawns looking like those famous, spotted firehouse dogs.

“Scapes,” Vol. 5, Issue 1 © 1998 Monsanto Company

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