Product or Active Ingredient - Could There Be Confusion?

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Earlier this week, Pamela Sherratt, Turfgrass Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University alerted Extension to the potential of some questions coming into the Extension offices about a product, Roundup for Lawns from clientele across the state.    


A walk through the aisles of the pest management area of a garden center this spring may cause some consumers to take a second look. While Roundup has been around for a long time, Roundup for Lawns is a new product that has recently hit the shelves. The same name and similar packaging may have consumers wondering what is the difference?


The difference is the active ingredients in the products. 


The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate. If applied to the lawn, you will likely kill not only the weeds but the lawn too. This non-selective herbicide controls a very wide range of plants on which it is applied.


The new Roundup For Lawns does not contain the same active ingredient glyphosate. Instead, the active ingredients in Roundup For Lawns are MCPA, quinclorac, dicamba and sulfentrazone. This 4-way broadleaf and grassy herbicide combination does not kill desirable grasses when used properly. These herbicides can be effective on a broad range of weeds found in some lawns including dandelion, crabgrass and nutsedge.


This is a good reminder for us all - active ingredients matter and can make a big difference.  Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the application and what do you want to accomplish? An application of glyphosate could have you seeing brown.


While this is a specific example of two herbicides with similar product names, it can also occur with other pesticides including insecticides and fungicides. It is an important reminder to always read the label.