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When warm air is cooled, it loses some of its moisture-holding capabilities. This change often occurs at night, when plants (and other objects) cool. Once the temperature of the surface of the leaves, for example, drops below the dewpoint, it causes water to condense, forming the shiny dew that causes so many to question early morning spray applications.
The question is often: will the spray run off the plant or will it get so diluted that it doesn’t work anymore?
In a dew chamber, work has shown that large spray droplets are more likely to run off a plant saturated with dew than their smaller counterparts. However, similar work showed that spray efficacy was not altered by droplet size.
Wolf discusses this work and the potential answer to the seemingly conflicting findings. Wolf also explains how grassy weeds compare to broadleaves, the role of surfactants, and what to consider when making the decision to spray through dew or not.