Many homeowners wonder if they should have a weed killer sprayer to kill weeds on the lawn, in landscape beds, along fence lines or in driveways and walkways.
The answer is YES – you should have an herbicide sprayer dedicated to weed killing ONLY!
You may ask Why?
Why have something else to store, maintain and spend money on. Why not have one garden sprayer for multiple uses.
One For Insects – One For Weeds
Herbicides, what we refer to as weed killers such as:
- 2,4-D (used as a Dandelion Killer)
- Glyphosate (Roundup)
- Diquat dibromide (Eliminator)
- Other chemicals
These chemicals cannot be completely rinsed and removed from spraying equipment through any simple washing operation.
For this reason alone, every gardener, landscaper and DIY’er plant should have one sprayer for using to spray chemicals to control insects and diseases, and a separate sprayer plainly marked for weed killers (herbicides).
The weed sprayer should be used only for weeds, since any trace of an herbicide left in the sprayer may be enough to kill or severely damage vegetables and flowers.
Before we look at caring for a sprayer let’s look at…
Selecting A Sprayer
The process of selecting the best sprayer for killing weeds is no different than the selection process you would go through for picking out one for spraying insecticides.
Remember when applying herbicides, high pressure is not required. High pressure can atomize the spray allowing it to drift in the wind. Otherwise, it basically comes down to your needs.
For most homeowners a simple 1 gallon sprayer made of “plastic” will serve their needs for small applications around the house.
However, if your property is larger with a lot of fence line, driveway area and landscape beds a larger sprayer such as a 3 to 4 gallon backpack weed sprayer may better suit your needs.
A backpack sprayer means less time filling or refilling along with getting the job done faster.
The down side:
- Higher cost of spray equipment
- Weight hanging on your back
Take your time to review your needs and select the best sprayer for your job.
Look for these Sprayer Manufacturers:
Birchmeier | Chapin | Echo | Gilmour | Hudson | Solo | Lesco | Graco
A sprayer for weeds needs the same good care and attention given to other sprayers but it should be regarded strictly as a one-purpose tool.
Plant bugs, diseases and weeds do not take vacations. So sprayer equipment needs to be always ready for use.
Modern sprayers are subjected to a lot of use, abuse and chemicals (insecticides and herbicides).
These chemicals are very effective in controlling insects, diseases and killing weeds.
However, they can be very corrosive and damaging to tanks, hoses and nozzles of sprayers.
This corrosion and damage can be prevented or reduced by washing out spraying equipment thoroughly after each use.
Sprayers will last for many years if properly care for.
Maintenance & Care “Rules
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding lubrication, adjustment, operation and care
- Make it a rule to clean the sprayer after each use
- Draining out any residue or leftover solution
- Thoroughly flushing the tank, hose lines and nozzles with clear water 3 times
- Nozzles should be disassembled, strainers and screens washed, using a soft bristle
brush or compressed air to remove any dirt or particles that may be caught in the screens
- Before reassembling, pump clean water through the discharge system to flush out the hoses and nozzles and to discharge any residues
- In reassembling, look for worn or defective sprayer parts and replace them immediately
The job of checking a sprayer is easy and should be done regularly.
Ordinary tools are all that are required:
- Wrench for brass fittings
- Pliers for removing pins and clamps
- Screwdriver for removing and attaching hoses
- Soft cloth or sponge and soft bristle brush for cleaning
With the sprayer disassembled, clean and wash each part including hose, nozzle parts, and shutoff valves. Check each gasket to see that it is sound before it is put back into use.
Storing for Winter
Before storing a sprayer for the winter season, pour in some clean water into the tank and wash it thoroughly. Allow the tank by leaving it open until all moisture has evaporated. Once dried replace the top.
Sprayers treated in this manner will be ready for use in the spring. It is just as important to wash out carefully small hand sprayers to keep them free of corrosion.
Sprayers are not complicated equipment that need attention of a trained mechanic. They do need the attention of a good caretaker.
With proper care insecticide herbicide sprayers will continue to give good service for many years.
However, with careless handling, or misuse such as making it a storage tank for spray solutions, a good piece of equipment may be ruined in a single season.