Merely buying a sprayer isn’t sufficient for keeping your fields and crops healthy – you also need to know how to properly use this piece of equipment. Well, if you are a first-time sprayer user, then let us give you 10 tips on how to get the most out of your sprayer.
Our 10 tips certainly won’t be covering everything you need to know about proper sprayer usage. However, they will let you know of the basic rules that you should be following when spraying your crops. Hopefully, armed with our tips, you are able to maintain the health of your property effectively and without wasting money and chemicals.
1. Calibrate Your Sprayer Periodically
As you probably know, sprayer calibration is necessary so that you can apply a proper amount of the fungicide or insecticide to your crops. This is essential to ensure that you spray just enough of the product without wasting pesticide and harming your plants.
You may need to calibrate your sprayer for each of the nozzles you have. Aside from that, you would calibrate the sprayer when switching fields or ground conditions – this is because your travel speed would probably change, rendering the old calibration less effective.
2. Choose The Right Spray Nozzles
Research different types of spray nozzles and be sure to use the right nozzle for the application. Sprayer nozzles differ in their coverage and the size of the droplets, which can significantly affect the proneness of the droplets to drifting, the amount of pesticide applied to the plant, and the coverage of the pesticide.
3. Make Sure That Your Spray Nozzles Are Aligned
Aside from picking the right nozzles for your sprayer, you should also make sure that the spray tips are aligned. Misalignment and uneven height are the most common causes of non-uniform spray patterns.
Aligned nozzles will allow for optimal overlapping between the nozzles, thus making sure that you don’t miss any spots and don’t waste pesticide.
Setting proper boom height and fan angle is also very important for the given nozzle. Since optimal angle and boom height differ from nozzle to nozzle, you should check out your sprayer’s instructions to determine how to adjust the nozzles correctly.
4. Test Your Nozzles Frequently
Spray nozzles get worn out sooner and later, which can result in uneven patterns, wasted pesticide, and damaged crops. To safeguard yourself from such outcomes, you should test each of your nozzles at least once a season to ensure that they are working as intended.
If anything is wrong with the nozzles, then don’t immediately assume that they’ve worn out – clogging may also cause non-uniform spray distribution. Don’t use a pin, knife, or any other metal object to unclog the nozzles – this may damage them. Instead, use the tools provided or recommended by the nozzle manufacturer.
5. Maintain Steady Travel Speed
When calibrating your sprayer, you are walking/driving at a steady speed. To ensure repeatable results and optimal pesticide application, you should:
- Keep your travel speed as steady as you can.
- Keep your travel speed as close to the speed during calibration as possible.
Don’t go too quickly – you will cover the land quicker, but you will also under-deliver the pesticide. If you are on foot, then fast application will also tire you out. Conversely, don’t go too slowly as well – you will be wasting time, as well as will apply more pesticide than necessary.
6. Don’t Allow Variations In Spray Pressure
Just like it is with travel speed, variations in spray pressure are undesirable as well. Unstable spray pressure will change the amount of pesticide applied, which may result in either over-spraying and waste of spray or under-spraying and decreased effectiveness.
Again, make sure to keep the pressure as steady and as close to the pressure at calibration time as possible.
7. Don’t Spray In Windy Conditions
Avoid using your sprayer in windy conditions – this will result in significant spray drift. Even if your sprayer is calibrated and equipped perfectly and if you are doing everything right, drift may reduce your efforts to zero. Not only the pesticide won’t reach the target, but you will also be wasting your chemicals and thus money.
Aside from that, if the spray drifts far away and gets onto your neighbor’s property, you may get sued for crop damage.
But if you have to spray in windy conditions, then you may:
- Try low-drift nozzles.
- Reduce the spraying pressure.
- Keep the nozzle close to the target.
- Use drift-retardant adjuvants.
Check Out The Buying Guide of Garden Sprayer
8. Thoroughly Rinse The Sprayer After Use
It’s key for the health of your field that you thoroughly rinse the sprayer after each use. Pesticide mixing inside the tank should be avoided since the old pesticide may damage the vegetation that you are currently spraying.
Every component that can possibly come in contact with the pesticide needs to be rinsed out. Among the most overlooked parts are boom sections and the chemical inductor, so pay special attention to them when rinsing your sprayer.
Besides, rinse the sprayer in the same field you used it in – this will allow you to prevent the pesticide from coming in contact with plants that it isn’t designed for.
9. Use An Appropriate Pesticide For The Present Diseases
To make sure that your sprayer even works, you should scout your fields to know what diseases are present. Or if you are not sure, you may let professionals take samples and let you know what you are dealing with. Being aware of present diseases is important because you will be able to choose the right solution for them.
10. Watch Out For Signs Of Pesticide Resistance
Finally, you should watch out for signs of pesticide resistance. If the pesticide has had an effect for some time but doesn’t seem to work anymore, developed pesticide resistance might be the issue.
However, you will need to first rule out improper use, poor timing, and bad calibration. And if the pests have indeed developed resistance to your solutions, then you may need to try another pesticide.