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How to Use Tenacity Herbicide for Lawn Weed Control

Tenacity herbicide (Mesotrione 4SC Select) is a go-to choice for homeowners seeking to tackle a variety of broadleaf and grassy weeds in their yards. Whether you want to prevent weeds from sprouting or eliminate existing ones, Tenacity (Mesotrione 4SC Select) has your lawn covered. In this article, we’ll cover comparisons of both products and the appropriate ways to use them for best results. 

What makes Tenacity Herbicide effective?

Tenacity weed killer is powered by the active ingredient, Mesotrione, which is what makes it so useful to fight against weeds. Any weed control product that uses Mesotrione will be just as powerful as Tenacity. 

Tenacity Herbicide vs. Mesotrione 4SC Select

Both Tenacity weed killer and Mesotrione 4SC Select contain 8 oz. of liquid solution and share the same active ingredient, Mesotrione, making them equally effective against a wide range of broadleaf and grassy weeds. 

* Exact application rates will vary depending on the type of application and application area. Read below for more details or refer to the product label.

Why use Mesotrione for Weed Control?

Mesotrione works by disrupting photosynthesis in weeds by infiltrating their leaves, roots and shoots. Here are some compelling reasons to consider Tenacity and Mesotrione 4SC Select:

  1. Resistance-Free: Mesotrione boasts a track record with zero reported resistance, ensuring its continued effectiveness against stubborn weeds like crabgrass, goosegrass and dandelions.
  2. Versatility: Use Mesotrione to both prevent and eradicate broadleaf weeds, making it a versatile choice for homeowners.
  3. Broad Effectiveness: Mesotrione excels at combating a list of 50+ weeds, including common nuisances like chickweed, clover, crabgrass, dandelion and many more. 
  4. User-Friendly: Tenacity and Mesotrione 4SC Select weed control comes with a convenient filling syringe and is available in an 8-ounce professional concentrate bundle. Just mix it with water and spray it on your yard.
  5. Safety First: When applied as directed on the label, Mesotrione is a safe choice for maintaining your turfgrass and ornamental plants.3.

Weeds Controlled with the chemical Mesotrione

  • Barnyardgrass
  • Creeping Bentgrass
  • Annual Bluegrass
  • Buckhorn Plantain
  • Buttercup
  • Carpetweed
  • Common Chickweed
  • Mouseear Chickweed
  • Large Hop Clover
  • White Clover
  • Large Crabgrass
  • Smooth Crabgrass
  • Southern Crabgrass
  • Curly Dock
  • Common Lambsquarter
  • Lawn Burend
  • Tufted Lovegrass
  • Marestail
  • Nimblewill
  • Yellow Nutsedge
  • Catsear Dandelion
  • Common Dandelion
  • Florida Betony
  • Florida Pusley
  • Yellow Foxtail
  • Galinsoga
  • Goosegrass
  • Ground Ivy
  • Healall
  • Henbit
  • Oxalis
  • Redroot Pigweed
  • Smooth Pigweed
  • Common Purslane
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Pale Smartweed
  • Pennsylvania Smartweed
  • Persian Speedwell
  • Purslane Speedwell
  • Sowthistle
  • Swinecress
  • Canada Thistle
  • Verbena
  • Wild Carrot
  • Wild Violet
  • Windmillgrass

Where and When to use Mesotrione

  • For Use On: Mesotrione suits various turfgrass settings, including commercial and residential areas. It’s also well-suited for non-crop environments like golf courses, sod farms, athletic fields, parks, cemeteries, airports, and lawns. Compatible turfgrass types include Kentucky bluegrass, centipede grass, buffalo grass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and St. Augustine grass.
  • Not For Use On: Avoid using Mesotrione on bentgrass, kikuyugrass, zoysia grass, seashore paspalum, exposed tree roots or golf course putting greens. 
  • Bermuda grass: Mesotrione can be used to control winter weeds on dormant bermuda grass only. Mesotrione kills actively growing bermuda grass, so if you have bermuda grass acting as a weed in your Kentucky bluegrass (or other approved turfs), then Mesotrione is a great weed killer for bermuda grass.
  • For Newly Seeded or Sodded Lawns: When applying Mesotrione to newly seeded or sodded lawns, use 5–8 fl. oz. in at least 30 gallons of water per acre, except for fine fescue and Sta Augustine. Be cautious with fine fescue, as it may result in less dense growth. This method is most effective with grass seed mixes containing less than 20 percent hard/fine fescue by weight. DO NOT spray on newly germinated turfgrass. Delay treatment until grass has been mowed 2-4 times and/or 4 weeks after emergence (whichever is longer).
  • Not Approved for Use in the Following States: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming.
  • Pre-Emergent Control (Prevention): Use Mesotrione 4SC Select to prevent weed growth before it starts. Apply in the spring when soil temperatures consistently reach at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit and in the fall when soil temperatures consistently drop to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Refer to the application rates in the table below for more information. 
  • Post-Emergent Control (Treatment): Apply Mesotrione 4SC Select when weeds are actively growing. Ensure your lawn is dry, and avoid watering for at least 24 hours post-application. Consider applying before or after rainfall for optimal results and refer to the application rates in the table below for more information.  Make a repeat application 2–3 weeks later for optimal weed control. Mesotrione 4SC Select is most effective on established turf when applied as a post-emergent unless it is combined with another soil-active herbicide. 
  • Weeds Prevented/Treated: Mesotrione 4SC Select effectively targets over 50 weeds such as chickweed, clover, crabgrass, dandelion, broadleaf weeds, annual bluegrass, henbit, knotweed, lambsquarters, purslane, thistle, wild carrot and more.

How to Use Mesotrione 4SC Select and Tenacity

Step 1: Determine how much Mesotrione you need

Measure the treatment area in square feet or acres. Next, calculate the amount of Mesotrione 4SC Select need based on your application rate. Use the table below to help determine your application rate, refer to the label for specific limitations to the rates.

Once you’ve found your application rate and you have your area. Use the following formulas:
Large applications – per acre:
[Number of Acres] * [Fl oz per acre application rate] = [Fl oz needed]

Spot Treatments – per sq. ft.:
([Number of Sq Ft] * 1 teaspoon) / 6 = [Fl oz needed]

Grass TypeAveragePre-EmergenceNew LawnsPost-Emergence
Kentucky Bluegrass5–8 fl. oz. 4–8 fl. oz. 5–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.
Centipede Grass5–8 fl. oz.4–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.
Buffalograss5–8 fl. oz.4–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.
Tall Fescue 5–8 fl. oz.4–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.
Perennial Ryegrass5 fl. oz.4–5 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.5–8 fl. oz.
Fine Fescue5 fl. oz.4–5 fl. oz.5 fl. oz.5 fl. oz.
St. Augustine Grass4 fl. oz.4 fl. oz.4 fl. oz.4 fl. oz.
*Fluid ounces per acre mixed with 30 gallons of water. 

Step 2: Fill a sprayer with water then add Mesotrione

Determine how much water you need using the below formulas. Fill your spray tank with the appropriate amount of water and then add Mesotrione 4SC Select or Tenacity at the calculated rate from Step 1. Agitate the spray tank to ensure that the herbicide is thoroughly mixed with the water.

Large applications – per acre:
[Fl oz needed] * 30 gallons = Water Needed

Spot Treatments – per sq. ft.:
[Fl oz needed] * 1 gallon = Water Needed

Pro Tip

You can mix a surfactant with Mesotrione. For smaller applications, you will need to mix 1 tsp of Mesotrione and 1.5 tsp of surfactant into one gallon of water covering 1,000 sq. ft. The surfactant helps the herbicide to spread evenly and penetrate as well as possible on the surface of the weed. It is recommended to use a non-ionic surfactant (NIS) with Mesotrione.

Step 3: Apply Mesotrione

Use a backpack sprayer or backpack pump sprayer to apply the herbicide to the problem area in your yard. Directly spray the mixture onto the weeds, taking care not to accidentally spray any nearby plants you want to keep. Allow the herbicide to dry before watering your lawn or mowing the grass.

Step 4: Assess for re-application

For post-emergent applications, make a repeat application 2–3 weeks later for optimal weed control.

Note: Using Mesotrione on your grass might make it temporarily turn white due to Mesotrione’s bleaching effect. This usually happens about 5–7 days after application and can affect both weeds and turfgrass. Creeping bentgrass can be especially affected. The white spots are not permanent and will eventually disappear.

Where to buy Mesotrione 4SC Select and Tenacity

You can find them at your nearest lawn and garden stores. Mesotrione 4SC Select is available to be shipped directly to your door. 

Choose Mesotrione 4SC Select or Tenacity for reliable weed control that keeps your lawn looking its best.

Mesotrione 4SC Select (alternative Tenacity)


Powered by Mesotrione, Mesotrione 4SC Select is an excellent pre- and post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf and grassy weeds. Compare to Tenacity. Active Ingredient: Mesotrione 40%

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