NC State Extension Publications


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Trade Name
Common Name
pelargonic acid
ammonium nonanoate
Formulations: 4.2 L, 3.3 L

Nonselective postemergence contact herbicide for control of most young, succulent, actively growing weeds. Very rapid (within hours) burn-down of weeds. Use as a directed or spot treatment for weeds in flower beds, tree and shrub beds, and in and around container-grown plants. May be used in and around walks or driveways. Also labeled for weed control in greenhouses including under benches, around the foundation, and in plant beds (such as rose production beds). May also be used to control emerged weeds in container grown woody nursery crops where sprays can be applied in a manner that avoids contact with the crop.

Amount of Active Ingredient Amount* of Formulation Herbicide
4.2 L 3.3 L
Spot treatment


3 - 10% v/v 6 - 15% v/v
*Amounts listed are percent by volume (v/v) in water. Higher concentrations are needed for larger weeds.

Major Weeds Controlled

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Small seedling broadleaf weeds.

Major Weeds Not Controlled

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Older annual and perennial weeds will be suppressed with top-kill only. Repeated applications can improve control. Weaker on grasses.

For Best Results

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Thorough wetting and complete spray coverage is essential for control. Apply in warm, dry weather for most rapid results. Does not work as well in cold weather. Repeat applications as re-growth is observed.

Cautions and Precautions

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oid contact with desirable vegetation. Do not apply using hose-end sprayers. Keep people and pets off treated areas until dry. The odor can be offensive. Tank mixing Scythe with Roundup-Pro or similar systemic herbicides is not advised. Reduced control of weeds, particularly perennial weeds, has been reported from such tank mixtures.

Causes substantial but temporary eye injury. Causes skin irritation. Harmful if inhaled. Harmful if absorbed through the skin. Do not get in eyes, on skin or on clothing. Avoid breathing spray mist. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash clothing before reuse.

Residual Activity

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No soil residual activity or root uptake have been reported.

Volatility and Leaching Potential

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Volatility and leaching are negligible.

Symptoms and Mode of Action

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Disrupts cell membranes causing rapid cell desiccation. On a sunny, warm day initial symptoms of water-soaked foliage may be observed within minutes. WSSA / HRAC mode of action code: 0.

Additional Information

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Worker Protection Standards* REI: 12 hours
PPE: Coveralls worn over short sleeved shirt and short pants; Chemical resistant gloves such as barrier laminate, nitrile rubber, or neoprene rubber; Chemical resistant footwear plus socks; and Protective eyewear (goggles, face shield, or safety glasses)
Gowan (Scythe)
BioSafe Systems (Axxe)

Scythe EPA Reg. # 10163-325
Axxe EPA Reg. # 70299-23

* WPS from the Scythe label. Consult each label for product-specific guidance.


Professor of Weed Science, Extension Specialist & Department Extension Leader
Horticultural Science

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Aug. 20, 2020

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