ERS to pioneer use of Certified Organic Herbicide for Restoration Projects

avenger1.jpg On many occasions at ERS we have talked about how nice it would be to have a safe organic alternative to some of the herbicides we use as important restoration tools. So we are pleased to announce what may be the beginning of a new era in invasive weed control. Starting this May, we will be incorporating Nature’s Avenger Organic ™, an organically certified herbicide by Cutting Edge Formulations, into our weed-control arsenal.

This OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed herbicide is proven to be more effective at killing weeds than RoundUp®. It is one of the few organically-certified post-em

ergent herbicides on the market. As a natural compound, it quickly biodegrades into other benign substances and poses no risk of soil or water pollution. Safety, of course, is another reason we are excited about this product.

Compared to synthetic herbicides, Nature’s Avenger ™ is extremely safe for humans and the environment. Of course, no herbicide is completely harmless if used improperly. From our research and experience with herbicides, we think this is the safest to reach the market. The Materials Safety Data Sheet for Nature’s Avenger ™ lists only mild health risks associated with misuse of this product. And we believe even these risks are overstated and will be revised in the future as the EPA develops a new classification for herbicides such as Nature's Avenger Organic ™. In any event, it is proven to be child, pet, wildlife & environment safe. And, as an extra benefit, without synthetic chemicals, there is no synthetic odor, a nice change for us. In fact, Nature’s Avenger ™ smells like lemons or oranges, depending on who you talk to. So how does it work?

Nature’s Avenger ™ is a broad-spectrum, non-selective herbicide. It will kill the good plants and the bad plants alike, so be careful. The active ingredient in Nature’s Avenger ™ is d-limonene from citrus rinds. It works by melting away the waxy cuticle layer of leaves. A white emulsion may appear on a treated leaf as a result. Healthy cuticles prevent water from escaping out of plants. When the cuticle layer is stripped wilting occurs rapidly, killing the plant to the roots. Every plant species has a different cuticle thickness and leaf texture. These characteristics determine the concentration of Nature’s Avenger required for effective burn-down. Response to treatment can be very rapid in some plants. In herbaceous plants, for instance, a response to Nature’s Avenger can be seen in a few hours, says Olav Messershmidt of OMC Ag Consulting. For grassy plants, he says, it may take a day before signs of plant death set in.

Generally, Nature’s Avenger ™ is most effective on sunny, warm and humid days. For best results, Messerschmidt says to spray in areas that will receive sunlight at some point in the day. Nature’s Avenger ™ works best in temperatures above 40°F, he says. If using the concentrated formula, it can be mixed at ratios from 3:1 to 6:1 (Water to Nature’s Avenger ™ ) depending on the plant species. For example, I could mix four gallons of water with one gallon of concentrate for a 4:1 ratio. A gallon of canola, corn or soybean oil must also be added to this formula. Actually the order of mixing should go: oil, Nature’s Avenger ™, then water. Apparently soybean oil works best. While a surfactant is not required, it may help for certain types of plants. In this case, non-ionic surfactants work best.

Another interesting thing about Nature’s Avenger ™ is that it can be used to enhance the effects of other herbicides. For instance, mixing Nature’s Avenger ™ with RoundUp ® can improve RoundUp’s efficacy. Less of the synthetic is required to get good results. This may be a very useful technique on plants where Nature’s Avenger ™ alone may not work as well as RoundUp ®.

It is a new season of restoration activities at ERS and we are looking forward to conducting research trials of our own on Nature’s Avenger ™ on invasive plant species throughout the Midwest. We want to find out for ourselves how to best utilize this product. As a company, we are concerned with the health of our employees, our clients, and the grounds on which we work. Nature’s Avenger ™ is the responsible answer for a green, organic and sustainable world.

Below are some highlights of this new herbicide:

OMRI Listed

WSDA certified and registerd

EPA Registered, Approved Certified Organic

USDA NOP Certified Organic

Faster Acting and As Effective As Roundup®

Out Performs ’Natural’ Products on the market

Highly Biodegradable, won't affect water supply

Non-toxic, Organic Formula-EPA Certified

Proven Child, Pet, Wildlife & Environment Safe

Fresh Citrus Aroma

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Example of Nature’s Avenger ™ used on Dandelions. Although ERS does't normally treat dandelions, this picture gives a good idea of the herbicide's effectiveness.
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Example of Nature’s Avenger ™ treatment after 24 hours.
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Four weeks after application on crabgrass: no regrowth.
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Electron Micrograph: Nature's Avenger ™ treated leaf (left) and leaf treated with distilled water (right). This picture highlights the cuticle degreasing action of Nature's Avenger ™.