A surfactant or sticker is a widely used agricultural agent that, when properly mixed with liquid fertilizers, helps the chemical to spread more evenly and thoroughly over the plants. This means that you end up using fewer chemicals and your pesticide is more efficient. Many of these surfactants you do not need to buy for they are lying around the house. Surfactants are highly used in the cosmetic industry and so when looking for a good sticker you just might find one on your wife's vanity.
Dish detergent is a common surfactant used in gardening as a pesticide to control mites, aphids and white fly. Just add a half-teaspoon per gallon of mix to your herbicides and pesticides and you have a homemade sticker. Please do your research, as detergent can damage some plants. Never apply to plants under stress.
An excellent natural surfactant comes from the dessert yucca or Mohave Yucca plant. The yucca plant has been used by natives of the Southwest for thousands of years and can now be found in many cosmetics. The ingredient saponin is what makes the yucca plant a great surfactant. Yucca can be prepared by first cleaning the dirt from the root and then chopping up about a 1-½ lbs. of the root, and then sticking it into a food processor till it is finely ground. You then add four cups of water to it and you have plenty for future use. Unlike manufactured surfactants that use oils, this one will not harm any plants.
Coconut oil is surfactant that can be used in a garden capacity. For years, it has been used as cooking oil and is found in many shampoos and soaps. The surfactant material comes from the meat of the coconut. Coconut oil actually has been approved for use as a surfactant in pesticides by the U.S. government. Coconut oil can be purchased at the grocery store because it doubles as cooking oil. Just a couple of tablespoons added to your pesticide and you are ready to go.
Vern Hee started writing professionally in 2009. He works as a reporter for the "Pahrump Valley Times." Hee taught elementary school for eight years and worked in the landscape construction field for 20 years. Hee holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley and is a veteran of the United States Navy.