Garden sprayers are vital tools when it comes to farm management and landscaping among others. They are helpful in distributing pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides (weed killers) from the reservoir tanks of such chemicals via a spray nozzle or wand, on to your lawn or garden. The chemicals can take a toll on the sprayer without proper maintenance and this may interfere with the life of the sprayer and the health of your plants.
This is why you must have adequate knowledge on how to maintain garden sprayers. Generally, a sprayer is good shape will most likely provide better coverage, which translates to better pest and disease control. The goal of using a garden sprayer is to achieve consistent coverage. Achieving the best possible coverage will ensure that you receive the most activity and benefits from your product. Only a good sprayer that is well maintained can ensure the best coverage.
The Types of Garden Sprayers
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to garden sprayer maintenance. This is because there are up to four different types of garden sprayers featuring different designs and mechanisms of operation. Here are brief discussions of the major types of garden sprayers.
1. Backpack garden sprayer
As suggested by its name, a backpack sprayer is a garden sprayer that you carry on your back just like the hiking backpack. This kind of sprayers is lightweight, convenient and easy to use. It is suitable for making smaller spraying jobs easier. Their portability makes them ideal for spot spraying for garden weed control.
Thorough cleaning is essential after every use to guarantee the longevity of the backpack sprayer. Ensure you use dish soap instead of other types because they could contain chemicals that can react negatively with the garden products you use. Use the hottest water possible and avoid burns by being careful.
Remember to lubricate the sprayer’s seals and o-rings periodically, recommended frequency being up to once a year. If you live in colder climates, you will require winterizing your tool before storing it. A good product for winterizing is automotive or RV antifreeze to help reduce the risks of damage due to freezing.
Be careful with automotive antifreeze because it is toxic to plants and grass but RV antifreeze is much safer.
Another important consideration when using a backpack sprayer is the calibrating it correctly. Ensure you calibrate your sprayer to set the output in gallons per acre and accurately measure the herbicide, fungicide or insecticide you use. Finally, make sure you apply the herbicide uniformly to the target plant.
2. Hose-end garden sprayers
This is a group of garden sprayers attached to the end of garden hoses. Such sprayers come empty and adjustable to be used by any number of chemical products and different dilution states. These sprayers have on/off valve. The sprayer works by mixing water from the hose with the chemical product as it passes through the nozzle. It uses your own water pressure to provide the spraying power.
To use a hose-end garden sprayer properly, you first need to figure the size of the area you wish to spray and then determine accurately the amount of product you want to use for your lawn area. Ensure you use the right pressure because it is you to set it. Periodically, you might want to assess and clean the filter with bristle brush or toothbrush.
3. Hand pump garden sprayer
The hand pump garden sprayer is perhaps the most commonly used of a type of garden sprayer. It is similar to the hand-pump sprayer that comes with a window cleaner. The first thing to do is to read the product labels for recommendation and precautions. These sprayers require just minimal maintenance. As long as you clean the tank carefully with dish soap and clean, hot water. You should also clean its nozzle.
To use the sprayer, all you need to do is fill the sprayer’s tank with enough of the diluted product and squeeze. It is economical, incredibly portable, delivers very fine spray and extremely easy to use. The problem is that a hand-pump sprayer can be extremely tiring, especially if you have a large area to spray since it is small in capacity.
4. Tow-behind garden sprayer
Tow-behind or pull-behind sprayer is a dedicated unit or a unit added to a trailer or a truck. Most models are skid-mounted with the skid holding the pump and the engine. The sprayer, on the other hand, consists of a tank a well as a pumping and a delivery system. When it comes to maintenance, the first tip would be to make sure you clean the tank thoroughly between uses.
You must also assess the sprayers filter as well as the shut-off valve for clogging and clean them as necessary. Always ensure you mix the chemicals well with water are recommended and keep the mix agitated. If you are using a truck, you need to ensure the tanks size. If the trailer or truck has an axle and wheels then you have to ensure they work properly before beginning to spray. Make sure the various components of the sprayer including the regulator, pump, plumbing, strainer, and drive.
5. Spot garden sprayer
Another great type of garden sprayer you can buy if you have large areas to spray is the spot sprayer. Some brands feature several adjustable nozzles to allow for different spray patterns to right, center, left or all the three patterns. When using any spot sprayer, you have to make sure you adjust spray pressure accordingly based on your needs.
Ensure the sprayer is mounted well on the ATV if you are using this type of garden of spot spray. A good thing is that some models can be mounted to most ATV cargo racks that use universal mounting brackets. Also, make sure that you clean the tank with after each use with clean, hot water and dish soap. Check the nozzles or wand for any signs of clogging and clean by the use of a toothbrush or bristle brush.
Easy Steps and Tips on How to Clean Garden Sprayers
Since the central thing in garden sprayer maintenance is cleaning, let us take a general look at how you can do a thorough cleaning of your sprayer to ensure it gives you a long and quality service.
Step 1: Assemble the necessary tools
Make ready all the tools and materials you will need to clean your sprayer. These include the sprayer unit, dish soap, clean hot water, and a toothbrush or small bristle brush. Choose a safe ventilated area to work.
Step 2: Dump the remaining product
You cannot spend your time, water and effort cleaning off excess product. So, take a few minutes and get rid of as much as possible amount extra product (weed killer) still remaining in the sprayer. After this, you can add ¼ cup of dish soap into the sprayer’s tank. Do not use other types of soap because they could react chemically with the products you will use in your garden.
Step 3: Fill the tank with hot water
After adding dish soap, fill the garden sprayer’s tank with hot clean water and let it sit for at least an hour. Experts recommend that you use water as hot as possible. Hot water from the tap can be good enough but it may require you to do additional boiling. Be careful while filling to tank with water to avoid burns.
Step 4: Empty the tank
Approximately one hour after adding the water, empty the tank. Choose the right place to dump the water since such water still contains enough chemical residues to harm your grass or garden plants. Lock the sprayer’s handle open and allow the water to flow out through the wand.
Step 5: Clean the sprayer’s wand
To clean the want of your sprayer, you will need to refill the sprayer’s tank with clean hot water. Allow the water to run through the hose and the wand. There is no need to worry about band calibration since you are simply cleaning the hose and the wand.
Step 6: Clean the filter and rinse the shut off valve
The last step in cleaning your garden sprayer is to clean its filter. At times, residues in the chemicals you use in your sprayer may clog your sprayer’s filter. An easy and effective way to remove such residues is to scrub it lightly with a bristle brush or toothbrush. Finally, rinse off any chemicals that might be present on the shutoff valve of your sprayer.