TURFLON ESTER — Weed Killer

Can Turflon Ester Kill Bermuda Grass
In Your Fescue Lawn?

Turflon Ester, by Monterey Lawn & Garden Products, is another lawn care herbicide that you can add to your arsenal for killing bermuda grass in fescue lawns. 
Does it completely kill bermuda? No, not normally. The label states that it can be used for the Suppression of Bermuda Grass.

Why, then, do some product reviews and people in blogs or forums say that it totally killed bermuda for them? The ultimate effectiveness of this herbicide is unique to each situation, depending on the degree to which bermuda has invaded the fescue lawn, and whether growing conditions favor the bermuda or another type of turf grass.

This article is part of a series which addresses every aspect of trying to get rid of bermuda grass in various locations. You can access that detailed information now at: Killing Bermuda Grass in Fescue Lawns, or wait and visit the link at the page bottom.



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BACKGROUND INFO

Turflon Ester has been around for a long time. The active ingredient is triclopyr. It was not originally intended as a bermuda grass killer. It’s primary application comes as a broadleaf weed killer.

Somewhere, sometime, someone paid attention to the fact that bermuda grass was dying when sprayed with Turflon. The company had to evaluate that aspect, do testing, and calibrate a correct dosage to use in order to recommend it as a treatment that could get consistent, predictable results. So here is what you can get by adhering to those guidelines.


Effects Of Using Turflon Ester To Kill Bermuda:

Some homeowners and lawn care professionals have found that repetitive use of this systemic herbicide eventually weakened the invading bermuda to the point that it gave up, and they had no continuing problem from the original weeds.

(However, please note that anyone in a situation like this always needs to be alert for a new infestation, usually by seeds blowing in from a nearby area, or being spread by animals or lawn care companies. A pre-emergent weed killer can interrupt this new problem, as can hand removal if you are attentive and respond in a timely manner.)

Many other people, however, find that Turflon Ester treatments merely hold the weed in check, rather than actually killing bermuda grass permanently. Here we see the resiliency of bermuda grass rhizomes (underground stems or runners) that can re-sprout even after being poisoned.

In many cases, this partial control is satisfactory, as a gardener finds that the overall appearance of the fescue lawn is maintained. With continued use the bermuda remains subdued, especially when correct cultivation practices are followed. As always, your results may vary.


When To Use It & How Often

Turflon Ester must be applied when the bermuda grass is not dormant. The more actively it grows, the better the impact of the chemical on it. The label specifies that you should plan to perform repeat applications every 30 days during the growing season.

What ends up happening is that the herbicide can kill the top growth completely, but the buried core of the plant is only injured. Within 2 −3 weeks the rhizomes (and maybe some sturdy stolons - the runners above ground) will have recovered. Sound familiar?

In a month’s time (from the last use of Turflon Ester), bermuda has pushed out enough new growth so that it’s time to spray again. Let it go longer than that between applications and the rhizomes get stronger, new runners spread farther, and seeds potentially form.
Consistent treatments will have the greatest impact on your chances for killing bermuda grass with this Triclopyr product. If you hope to be one of the lucky ones, diligence is your best ally. Never Give Up! Never Surrender! Unless it becomes too big of a pain.


A BIG CAUTION

Before you jump ahead using this chemical, be reminded of what it is — a broadleaf weed killer. Any nearby vegetation is in jeopardy. You must cover or somehow protect all ornamental plants: flowers, shrubs, trees, veggies, etc. Avoid windy days, and set up a barrier, but also know that any spray process normally has a certain amount of product drift. Don’t let your good plants get hurt by it.

Another Warning: a number of lawn care hopefuls with good intentions are going to read this and attempt killing bermuda grass in NOT a fescue lawn. So if you have another variety of grass, read the Turflon label carefully, and make sure it is safe to use on your type of lawn.

Everyone should read the application directions and all cautions very carefully before you purchase any grass killer and again before you apply it. Don’t waste money and don’t make new problems, if it happens to be inappropriate for your needs.


HOW TO USE: Turflon Ester Weed Spray For Killing Bermuda Grass

Mixing Instructions

You will not like at least one aspect of this process. We are so conditioned to having products with maximum convenience, that this stipulation will seem stupid. From the label: “When TURFLON Ester is mixed with water, it forms an emulsion (not a solution) and separation may occur unless the spray mixture is agitated continuously.”

In other words, the triclopyr settles out of the water. So what?
Just admit that we all tend to go the easy route, as in not shaking a lot of other things, like aerosol cans of paint or insecticide. Do not be lazy here.
If you do not keep the herbicide continuously mixed in the water, two things will happen:
- In some areas, insufficient kill;
- In other areas, over-kill.
So plan to Shake, Rattle, and Roll on this project, OK?

A suggestion for the initial mixing is to avoid pouring the chemical into an empty container and then adding water. It won't mix easily.
From the label: “Add about one-half the required amount of clean water to the spray tank. Add the recommended amount of TURFLON Ester and continue filling the sprayer. For best results, the spray mixture should be mixed well and often.”

How Much To Use For Suppression Of Bermuda Grass

I just know you’re going to love this!
The Label: “Apply TURFLON Ester at the rate of 3/4 fluid ounce per 1,000 square feet in enough water to provide uniform coverage of the target area.”
How well can you measure ¾ ounce? That equals 1.5 tablespoons or 4.5 teaspoons. Do the best you can to be accurate here. Your fescue will thank you for your patience. (Hey, it’s good practice — you’ll need it before you’re finished with bermuda!)

Put that cute amount in your sprayer. With how much water? Good question. The mixed spray is intended to cover a 1,000 square foot area with that specific amount of chemical. Oh??? Yes, I know. Royal pain. How are you supposed to figure that out?

The only way to do that correctly is to perform a trial run. Mark off in your yard an area of 1,000 square feet, which could be 100 ft by 10 ft, or 50 x 20, or 40 x 25. Get a school kid to help you with the math if needed.

Fill up a sprayer with clean water only, (no herbicide), and go spray. One gallon sprayers typically can cover that size area, but it depends on how wide open the sprayer nozzle is, and how fast you go.
Have fun and pay attention to your pace as you move the wand back and forth, and make your way across the test plot. You don’t need to drench the grass to the point of run-off. Just cover it thoroughly. See if you can pace yourself to get that area sprayed with about a gallon of water.

Whatever quantity it actually takes to do that, you must then mix the ¾ ounce of Turflon Ester into that total amount of water. It might be more or less than a gallon and that’s fine, but only use the same dose of herbicide. (Having fun yet? Don’t look at me. It’s your yard! And it was your idea to kill bermuda grass. I just live with it in my yard.)

If you will need to use 1 ½ gallons of water, but you only have a one gallon capacity sprayer, either do some more calculating to get the right ratio in smaller amount, or mix it in a bigger container and pour into the sprayer as you need it.

This may sound confusing, but it is important. If you are going to bother with this approach to kill bermuda grass, do it correctly. Be sure to write down and save the calculation to use each time you spray.
You’ll find more helpful hints about smart use of a sprayer for killing bermuda in this article: How To Kill Bermuda Grass.


Anything Else To Know?

Do NOT water the area for 24 hours after application (if you ever get to that point). The marketing material says Turflon Ester is ‘Rainfast in one hour’, but I wouldn’t cut it that close if you have a storm headed your way.

Also, it’s a good idea to water the lawn a day or two prior to spraying if it has not rained recently. This avoids extra stress on the turf, and will help it to recover. Do not allow people or pets to enter the treated areas until sprays have dried.


What Will All That Difficulty Get You?

The Label: “Three to four additional applications at 4 week intervals will be required to give adequate suppression of bermuda grass and allow fescue or other desired turf grass species to dominate.

Congratulations! You’ll be the proud owner of a bermuda-suppressed fescue lawn.

Just keep this in mind. If you have limited quantities of bermuda to spray and kill, the impact of Turflon Ester will leave your fescue lawn looking ragged, but intact. It should recover, with proper lawn care procedures.

But if your lawn was severely taken over by the bermuda, and all the bermuda top growth gets killed off, what will your yard look like?
This is not a trick question. It will look like doo-doo.
You’ll have dead bermuda grass, which will leave areas of bare ground when it all gets scraped off.
And the forecast? This will be followed by periods of increasing weeds, turning to scattered bermuda later.

If you do end up with bare areas, you’ll want to reseed with fescue. BUT… the Label says: “Reseeding Precaution: DO NOT reseed for 3 weeks after application.”

How will this play out? Let’s check the calendar:

  • Spray Turflon Ester today.
  • Over the next few weeks get rid of dead grass & prep the bare areas.
  • 3 weeks after you sprayed, plant new grass seed.
  • 1 week later, it’s time for Mr. Bermuda’s next dose of poison.

What will that do to your new grass? Nothing. It hasn’t sprouted yet.
What about when it does? Probably will kill the youngster fescue, best I’d expect.
Or the new grass will die when you spray the following time because then it’s only a month old and still very vulnerable.

Really? I’m honestly not sure. It seems like it would, based on the label cautions. So you’re on your own here as far as reseeding. You could plant now and maybe hold off on spraying again till the new grass is mature.

Or keep on spraying and suppressing during the summer, and forget about planting new fescue until the fall months. Autumn actually is the best time to plant new fescue, so that’s a decent plan (if you can live with the bare areas — thankfully, the turflon will kill the weeds that pop up).


CONCLUSION

Using Turflon Ester for killing bermuda grass may or may not be a feasible solution for you, depending on:

  • how large a lawn area you have;
  • if you can incur the expense of this product;
  • if you care enough to follow instructions;
  • and if you will be persistent with the repeat spraying.

Though some may view my tone in this article as critical toward this product, my intention is not to discourage you from trying to rid a fescue lawn of bermuda using Turflon Ester. It can be a very helpful herbicide when used appropriately.

I just see too often the reviews of diverse products by people who were disappointed in the results, when it is obvious to me that they either proceeded incorrectly or had wrong expectations starting out. Better to know before you groan?

One last word on using this and any weed killers, especially in a home lawn or garden. Please read the label and if you don’t understand any part of the application instructions or the warnings, get assistance before you spray.

Thanks for listening. I wish you the best with your project. Do take a look at the additional articles that have specific information about killing bermuda in a lawn, as well as general lawn care issues.


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You will find helpful information, product reviews, Question & Answer resources, plus live personal support if you need it.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Go to Killing Bermuda Grass in Fescue Lawns

Go to How To Kill Bermuda Grass for useful information about how bermuda grows and how to get rid of it.

Go to Ornamec Bermuda Grass Killer, an alternative weed killer to consider. 


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