Element 4 herbicide: Mixing Instructions, Price, and Step-by-Step Guide

Element 4 Herbicide

What is Element 4 Herbicide?

Element 4 herbicide is a selective post-emergent herbicide that comes in a liquid ester formulation.

Developed by Dow AgroSciences, the herbicide is designed for foliar and basal bark applications, which means it can be sprayed on the leaves of plants or applied to the bark of woody plants near the ground.

It has a low odor and is available in a 2.5-gallon container.

The active ingredient

The active ingredient in Element 4 herbicide is triclopyr with an acid equivalent concentration of 44.3%.

What is element 4 herbicide used for?

Element 4 herbicide is used for controlling and managing actively growing brush, such as woody plants like oaks, poison oak, and poison ivy, as well as annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds.

It is effective in targeting and eliminating unwanted vegetation while being selective towards desirable plants.

Where to use it

Element 4 can be used in non-crop industrial manufacturing areas, rights-of-way such as electrical power lines, communication lines, pipelines, roadsides, railroads, forests, and some grazed areas like pastures and lawns.

What does Element 4 herbicide kill

Element 4 herbicide kills a variety of woody plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and cottonwood, but also lots of annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds like clover, dandelion, and ground ivy.

This herbicide is selective, meaning it primarily affects broadleaf weeds and woody plants while having minimal impact on grasses and other desirable vegetation. This selectivity is due to the specific mode of action and target site of triclopyr within the broadleaf plants

Below in Table 1 and 2, you can find the list of weeds that Element 4 herbicide effectively controls.

Table 1. Woody Plant Species Controlled by Element 4 herbicide
alder gallberry salmonberry
arrowwood gorse saltbush
ash granjeno (Braccharis spp.)3 aspen
guajillo salt cedar1 bear clover (bearmat)
guava3 sassafras beech
hazel scotch broom birch
hickory sumac blackberry
hornbeam sweetbay magnolia blackbrush
huisache (suppression) sweetgum blackgum
kudzu2 sycamore boxelder1
locust tanoak Brazilian pepper
madrone thimbleberry buckthorn
maple tree-of-heaven cascara (except bigleaf, vine3 )
(Ailanthus)1 ceanothus milkweed vine3
trumpet creeper3 cherry3 mulberry
tulip poplar chinquapin oaks twisted acacia
choke cherry osage orange Virginia creeper 3
cottonwood pepper vine3 wax myrtle (top growth)
crataegus (hawthorn) persimmon, eastern wild rose dogwood
pine willow Douglas-fir
poison ivy willow primrose elderberry
poison oak winged elm elm (except winged elm)
Table 2. Annual, Biennial, and Perennial Broadleaf Weeds Controlled by Element 4 Herbicide
black medic mustard
bull thistle Oxalis
burdock plantain
Canada thistle purple loosestrife
chicory ragweed
cinquefoil sericea lespedeza (1)
clover smartweed
creeping beggarweed sulfur cinquefoil (2)
curly dock sweet clover
dandelion (top growth) tropical soda apple (3)
dogfennel vetch
field bindweed wild carrot
goldenrod (Queen Anne’s lace)
ground ivy wild lettuce
lambsquarters wild violet
lespedeza yarrow

When to apply it

You can apply Element 4 herbicide in late summer or fall when the plants are actively growing.

The label of the herbicide states that if applied earlier, prior to August, the effectiveness of the herbicide may not be satisfactory.

Sometimes the timing for applying Element 4 herbicide can vary depending on the target vegetation and the specific recommendations provided on the product label.

For woody plants and weeds, it is recommended to apply Element 4 herbicide when they are in the early stage of growth and still actively growing. In the case of harder-to-control weeds such as ash, black gum, choke cherry, elm, maples (other than vine or big leaf), oaks, pines, or winged elm, you can make applications during late summer when the plants are already mature.

For plants like Lespedeza, you can use the herbicide in late spring to early summer, prior to bloom, when the plant is in maximum foliage development. In the case of Sulfur cinquefoil, you can apply it when it is in the rosette stage.

How does it work

Element 4 herbicide works by disrupting the weed’s normal growth process through the interference of its hormones and metabolic pathway.

When the herbicide is sprayed on the weed, it is absorbed by the plant, and its active ingredient is translocated throughout the weed’s tissues, including the roots, shoots, leaves, and circulatory system. The active ingredient in the herbicide disrupts the weed’s normal developmental processes, ultimately leading to the plant’s death.

Element 4 herbicide mix Ratio

The mix ratio of Element 4 herbicide is 1 to 8 quarts per acre for controlling broadleaf weeds and woody plants.

Table 1. Rate of Element 4 Herbicide
Total Spray Volume(gallons/acre) Forestry Sites (qt/100 gallons of spray)1 Non-Cropland Sites (qt/100 gallons of spray)2
400 1.5 2
300 2 2.7
200 3 4
100 6 8
50 12 16
40 15 20
30 20 26.7
20 30 40
10 60 80

*1 Do not exceed the maximum use rate of 6 qt of Element 4 (6 lb ae of
triclopyr) per acre per year.
*2 Do not exceed the maximum use rate of 8 qt of Element 4 (8 lb ae of
triclopyr) per acre per year for non-grazable areas, or 2 qt (2 lb ae of
triclopyr) per acre per year for grazed areas, except on portions of
grazed areas that meet the following requirement. Portions of grazed
areas that intersect treated non-cropland, rights-of-way and forestry
sites may be treated at up to 8 lb ae per acre if the area to be treated
on the day of application comprises no more than 10% of the total
grazable area.

Table 2. Application Rates per 100 Gallons of Spray – Element 4 Herbicide
Element 4 Plus Tank Mix Product Rate (qt)
1 – 4 qt
1 – 2 qt Grazon® P+D specialty herbicide 4
1 – 2 pt 2,4-D low volatile ester herbicide 1 – 2
1 – 2 qt Tordon 22K 1 – 2
2 qt Reclaim ® specialty herbicide1 2

*1 Reclaim is registered for use only in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and
New Mexico

The herbicide ratio varies based on the size of the area to be treated, the specific type of treatment you plan to apply, and the target weed species

High Volume Foliage Treatment with Element 4 herbicide

– For ground application, you can use 10 gallons or more of total spray volume per acre. This ensures thorough coverage of all weeds with the herbicide solution.
– When treating woody plants, the recommended mix ratio is 2 to 6 quarts of Element 4 per 100 gallons of spray mixture.
– To manage woody plants on rangeland and permanent pasture, make a single annual application with a mix ratio of 2 quarts per acre. The recommended spray volume per acre ranges from 100 to 400 gallons, depending on the size and density of the targeted woody plants.

Low Volume Foliage Treatment

– For the control of susceptible woody plants, you can prepare a mixture by combining Element 4 with a range of 10 to 100 gallons of finished spray. It is recommended to use up to 20 quarts of the herbicide.

Broadcast Applications With Aerial or Ground Equipment

When applying the product on the ground, it is recommended to use a minimum of 10 gallons of total spray volume per acre. For aerial application, it is advised to apply a minimum of 2 gallons of total spray volume per acre.

Broadleaf Weed Control: use a minimum of 5 gallons or more per acre of a water spray mixture containing Element 4, applying it at rates between 1 and 4 quarts per acre.

South Texas Mixed Brush (Mesquite, Pricklypear Cactus, Blackbrush, Twisted Acacia and Granjeno): If pricklypear is an issue, mix 1 to 2 pints of Element 4 with 2 pints of Tordon 22K per acre in a tank mixture

Mesquite: use a combination of Element 4 and Reclaim at a rate of 1/2 to 1 pint per acre for Element 4, along with 2/3 to 1 1/3 pint per acre for Reclaim.

When applying the product aerially, it should be in the form of an oil:water emulsion with a total volume of 4 gallons or more per acre. Alternatively, if using ground equipment, the application should be made with a total volume of 10 gallons or more per acre.

Mesquite and Pricklypear Cactus: use a mix of 1/2 to 1 pint of Element 4 herbicide with 1 to 2 pints of Tordon 11K per acre.

For aerial application, it is recommended to use a minimum total volume of 4 gallons per acre as an oil:water emulsion. On the other hand, when using ground equipment, it is advised to apply a minimum total volume of 10 gallons per acre.

Post Oak and Blackjack Oak – Mature Stands: If you want to control mature stands (taller than 5 ft), follow the recommended application of 2 quarts of Element 4 per acre in late spring (May) to early summer (June-July) when oak leaves have fully grown and expanded.

Basal Bark, Dormant Stem and Cut Surface Treatments

On any use site specified for Element 4 herbicide, individual plant treatments such as basal bark and cut surface applications are allowed, not exceeding a maximum use rate of 8 lb ae of triclopyr per acre.

Basal Bark Treatment: Combine 1 to 5 gallons of Element 4 with enough oil to create a spray mixture totaling 100 gallons, specifically for the control of susceptible woody plants with basal diameters below 6 inches.

Low Volume Basal Bark Treatment: Blend Element 4 in the amount of 20 to 30 gallons with the necessary oil to create a spray mixture totaling 100 gallons, aimed at controlling susceptible woody plants with stems measuring less than 6 inches in basal diameter.

Dormant Stem Treatment:
For effective control of susceptible woody plants and vines with stems less than 2 inches in diameter, apply dormant stem treatments. Mix 4 to 8 quarts of Element 4 with 2 to 3 gallons of crop oil concentrate or recommended oil, and then dilute this mixture with enough water to create a spray solution of 100 gallons.

Forest Management Element 4 Mix Ratio

For broadcast applications in forest areas, you should apply Element 4 at a rate of 1 to 6 quarts per acre. If using aerial methods, ensure a total spray volume of 5 to 25 gallons per acre. For ground applications, use a total volume ranging from 10 to 100 gallons per acre.

Other Susceptible Woody Plants: Apply either 2 to 4 pints of Element 4 alone or in combination with 2 to 3 quarts of a low volatile ester or amine formulation of 3.8 lb/gal 2,4-D per acre.

Mixing instructions

Element 4 herbicide mixing instructions state that it can be diluted using water or an oil-water emulsion.

Mixing Instructions for Oil-Water Mixture Spray

Let’s take a look at the mixing instructions for an oil-water mixture of Element 4 herbicide.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. It is recommended to first perform a jar test to check the compatibility of the spray mix.
  2. Prepare a premix of oil, a surfactant for herbicides, and Element 4 herbicide in a separate container.
  3. You can also add a suitable oil-based carrier like diesel fuel, fuel oil, or kerosene.
  4. Add an emulsifier like Sponto 712 or Triton X-100 to aid in emulsion formation.
  5. Ensure that no water or water-containing mixtures enter the premix or Element 4. This is to prevent the formation of a thick “invert” emulsion (water in oil) that can be challenging to break.
  6. Avoid adding the premix or Element 4 into the mixing tank before adding water, as it may lead to the formation of the same difficult-to-break emulsion.
  7. Fill the spray tank approximately halfway with water.
  8. Slowly add the premix to the tank while continuously agitating the mixture.
  9. Complete filling the tank with water.
  10. Continue to agitate.

Mixing Instructions for Oil Mixture Sprays for Basal Treatment

For those who want to create an oil mixture spray for basal treatment, it is important to follow these mixing instructions:

  1. Prepare oil-based spray mixtures using specific oils such as diesel fuel, No. 1 or No. 2 fuel oil, kerosene, or commercially available basal oil.
  2. Only substitute other oils or diluents if recommended by the manufacturer of the oil or diluent.
  3. When preparing an oil mixture, carefully read and follow the usage directions and precautions stated on the manufacturer’s product label.
  4. In the spray tank or mixing tank, add the required amount of oil for the mixture.
  5. Add Element 4 herbicide to the oil in the tank.
  6. Thoroughly mix the oil and Element 4 together.
  7. If the mixture remains standing for over 4 hours, it is necessary to agitate or mix it again.

Oil Mixtures of Element 4 and Tordon K

Even though Tordon K and Element 4 are not compatible, they can be used together in a tank mix combination for basal bark treatment of woody plants.

To ensure a stable tank mixture and effective basal bark application, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by combining each product with a compatibility agent separately.
  2. Add a compatibility agent to each herbicide before the final mixing in the desired ratio. Detailed instructions for this mixing process can be found in the product bulletin.

Element 4 herbicide water dilutions

When diluting the Element 4 herbicide with water, you have to add a surfactant for herbicides to the spray mixture. The surfactant should be added at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. The addition of the surfactant helps improve the wetting of foliage, enhancing the effectiveness of the herbicide.

Mixing with Liquid Fertilizer for Broadleaf Weed Control

For better control of broadleaf weeds and fertilization of grass pastures, Element 4 herbicide can be mixed with liquid fertilizer. Still, you should not use Element 4 with liquid fertilizer on woody plants (brush) as this combination can cause foliage burn.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Test the compatibility of Element 4 with the desired spray mix and proportions in a clear glass jar before mixing in the spray tank.
  2. In some situations, a compatibility aid such as Unite or Compex may be needed.
  3. Element 4 mixes best with straight liquid nitrogen fertilizer solutions.
  4. Mixing with N-P-K solutions or suspensions may not be satisfactory, even with the addition of a compatibility aid.
  5. In difficult situations, premixing Element 4 with 1 to 4 parts water may be helpful.
  6. Fill the spray tank approximately halfway with the liquid fertilizer, then add the herbicide with agitation.
  7. Complete filling the tank with the liquid fertilizer and apply immediately.
  8. Maintain agitation in the spray tank during application.

General Mixing Order for Tank Mixes

Element 4 herbicide also has some general mixing recommendations that are recommended to be followed when mixing it with other tank partners.

  1. Add one-half of the required water into the mixing tank.
  2. Begin agitation to ensure thorough mixing of the solution.
  3. If using a water-soluble herbicide, add it to the tank first.
  4. Now, you can add the premix of oil, emulsifier, Element 4 herbicide, and any other oil-soluble herbicide. Always follow this order of the materials.
  5. Give it time to disperse completely and mix every time you add another product. This ensures that each of them is well incorporated into the solution.
  6. Add the remaining water to the mixing tank.
  7. If using a drift control and deposition aid approved for application to growing crops, add it during the final filling of the tank.
  8. If you are using a water dilution instead of an oil-water emulsion spray, add an agricultural surfactant to the mixture.
  9. Mix, mix, mix!

Element 4 Restrictions and Limitations

Element 4 herbicide has specific use precautions and restrictions that must be followed:

– Do not use this product on any type of irrigation system.
– The maximum application rate of Element 4 herbicide is 1/2 gallon per acre per growing season for rights-of-way areas, grazing zones, and harvesting zones.
– For forestry sites, the maximum application rate is 6 quarts per acre per year.
– Non-cropland industrial manufacturing and storage zones allow for a maximum application rate of 8 quarts per acre per year.
– Do not apply the herbicide to cotton, grapes, peanuts, soybeans, tobacco, vegetable crops, flowers, citrus, or any other desired broadleaf plants.
– Avoid using the herbicide on open waters such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, estuaries, or saltwater bays.
– Application in areas where runoff or irrigation water can reach agricultural land should be avoided to prevent potential harm to crops.
– When using mist blowers, ensure the use of a drift control additive, high viscosity inverting system, or equivalent to effectively manage spray drift before applying this product.
– Lactating dairy animals should not graze on treated areas until the subsequent growing season after the application of this product.
– Wait for at least 14 days after application before harvesting hay when spraying Element 4.
– Livestock should be kept away from grazing on treated grass for a minimum of 3 days before slaughter during the application season.

Instructions on How to Use It

Using Element 4 herbicide is not complicated, but it is important to consider factors such as weather, timing, and mix ratio. Here are 10 steps on how to use Element 4 herbicide effectively.

  1. Ensure that the weeds you want to control are listed on the Element 4 herbicide label. Read the product label carefully.
  2. Determine the appropriate timing for application based on the growth stage of the target vegetation.
  3. Check the weather conditions before spraying the herbicide. Ensure that wind speeds are not exceeding 10 mph, and the temperatures are within the recommended range.
  4. Prepare your equipment, including the applicator, clothing, and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended. The Element 4 herbicide label specifies wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and socks.
  5. Calculate the correct amount of Element 4 herbicide based on the recommended application rate per acre per growing season.
  6. Prepare the mixture accordingly, following the proper mixing order. If diluting with water, determine the desired concentration and volume of water required for the application. If using an oil mixture, follow the mixing instructions provided on the product label.
  7. Once the mixture is prepared, pour the final solution into the applicator.
  8. Adjust the sprayer settings according to the chosen application technique.
  9. Apply the herbicide solution uniformly to all targeted weeds.
  10. After completing the application, clean your equipment thoroughly.


How much does Element 4 herbicide cost?

The price of herbicide Element 4 is typically around $70 to $80 per gallon.

What alternatives are there for Element 4 herbicide?

An alternative for Element 4 herbicide can be Alligare Triclopyr 3 herbicide or Remedy Ultra.

About the author: Dani Martelli
Dani FarmerDB

My name is Dani and I am a farmer with 10 years of experience. I will share with you everything about farming from processes, tips, machines, and more. Farming for me is not just a job but a way of life. Keep reading ...

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