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View Full Version : Liquid vs. Granular, etc.


3horn
10-09-2000, 12:32 AM
I would like to get some opinions on Liquid versus Granular fertilizer. Pros and cons of each. I am considering a different approach for next year to optimize my time at each client. Right now I use granular fertilizer in one Lesco spreader, Insecticide (when needed) in another Lesco spreader, and Herbicide in Liquid form (other than pre-emergent) in a spray tank on a trailer. This makes for three trips around a lawn for certain customers. Obviously, applying everything in liquid form would be quicker, but there are reasons that I have not done it that way. One is supply and storage of liquid fert. The other is the slow release nature to the granular. Also, I like to have the Liquid Herbicide by itself so I can hit a particular area I little harder if needed without fear of fertilizer burn. However, I do not like making three trips over clients lawns. Also, some clients seem to think that liquid is somehow better (this stems mainly due to the fact that..."anyone can get granular fertilizer at the store, why should I pay a premium for your service). So anyone have a little insight? I have seen advertisements for ride-on spreaders with concentrated low volume sprayers, anyone try one of these. Also, spreader mounted sprayers.

KirbysLawn
10-10-2000, 02:54 AM
Liquid is more effective in most cases, works much faster, and is cheeper. Example:

* Bayleton cost $73 for bag that treats 13,000 sf, or $5.61 per 1000 sf, liquid w.s bags cost $99.00 for 22.5 oz, treats appx. 40,000sf or $2.47 per 1000sf

Iron, Dimension, Pre-M, all are much cheaper in liquid form.

Ray

jaclawn
10-10-2000, 08:59 AM
While it is true that the liquid material may be less expensive in many cases, it is not always the cheapest total route to go.

You will need a $2500 min, spray setup. That essentially dedicated a truck, or trailer to spraying only.

Now, here is the hangup with spraying. Flexibility. If you are mixing 200 gallons at a time(absolute minimum), you need to apply all 200 of those gallons. In Kirbsters example, what if he only needed to treat 10K with that BAyleton? He would have to mix a batch special for that.

ALso, there is the issue of IPM, and only applying pesticides when necessary. If you tank mix fert and weed control, every lawn gets the weed control, whether they need it or not. Same goes for insects...

I have one of the Perma Green sprayers on a spreader. It works as described. I still have to do some spot spraying around the edges, but overall it is a time saver.

I can actually apply three products with one pass across the lawn. Fert with insect control(combination probuct), and post emergent weed control through the tank.

The nice thing about this setup is that if the next lawn only needs fert, I can do that one without making an additional trip. I simply put straight fert in the hopper, and don't trigger the spray.

Also, the slow release effects of granular fert are much better than its liquid counterpars.

KirbysLawn
10-10-2000, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by jaclawn
In Kirbsters example, what if he only needed to treat 10K with that BAyleton? He would have to mix a batch special for that.

Simple planning and route scheduling. If I'm out spraying Iron and I need to treat 10,000sf with Bayleton, I simply plan my route accordingly and ad 1 ws pack to the Iron. I then do 2 treatments at once and I'm done.

I agree that the up front expense is greater, but the flexibility and additional services I can now offer is also much greater and so are my profits. I can now apply several products at one time, therefore saving time by not having to walk behind a spreader applying 2 applications. I can offer deep-root fertilizing, insecticide spraying, and tree/shrub spraying service.

On the IPM, again simple scheduling and planning. All lawns on a 5-step program get the same treatment at the same time. Any additional treatments are done either via back pack, tank, or granular.

Also, why is 200 gallons the "absolute minimum"? 2.5 gallons of Iron makes 80 gallons in tank, if that's all I need why mix more?

Ray

[Edited by KirbysLawn on 10-10-2000 at 02:49 PM]

Lawnmasters
10-10-2000, 12:30 PM
We solved the problem of mixing a large batch to treat one or two customers by using a small (35) gallon tank mounted on the side of our tanker. In our case we are mixing 1100 gallons and spraying everyone the same, as Kirby says scheduling, if we have an isolated case of insecticide or fungicide that isn't tank mixed we use the small spray tank. This truck has 750 gallon tank, 350 gallon tank and 35 gallon tank, 3 hose reels, 3 pumps. It has turned into quite a handy truck.
Profit wise there is no comparison, our chemicals are much less expensive and easier to apply than pushing a spreader. Two of my men would quit if I said we were going to start pushing only.
Greg Pierce, CTP

Lazer
10-11-2000, 02:18 AM
Who said you have to "push" on your granular materials?

Also, if you have a Ride-on spreader/sprayer, you can ride, apply fertilizer (granular) and spray at the same time.

Plus at 3-4000 sq. ft./minute, you just can't get all-liquid down that fast without a golf-course type boom sprayer.

Unless you have an 1,100 gallon 3 compartment, 3 reel set-up as mentioned, you just can't beat the speed and flexibilty of a combo spread/spray granular/liquid system.

3horn
10-12-2000, 12:09 AM
Lazer, What kind of ride-on do you use? Is the sprayer effective? Do you still have to blow granules off sidewalks, etc?

Lazer
10-13-2000, 10:46 PM
My units are custom built using the drive components of an Exmark Hydro Walk-Behind.

The Sprayer system is geared toward herbicides with ultra-low volume (16oz/1000) Works extremely well, but drifts in wind quicker than a high-volume unit would.

I don't blow off granules except is rare circumstances.

Skookum
10-15-2000, 05:02 AM
Before I got licensed I use to pay another company to do my pesticides. I saved enough the first year that it paid for my sprayer. I found that I had much more control of my growth rate when I switched to doing all granular fertilizing than when the other company was using a total spray program. Time release granular is a nice steady grow. Spray is a quick green, but it does not last, thus requiring more sprays a year.

My big problem was I do not want to do anymore fertilizing or pesticides than I have to do. But, it is essential for my commercial total maintenance programs. I believe in limiting the amount of poisions we are putting into our ground, so I only use what is needed and when.

Question: What do you do with the mixed product you carry on a rider setup as spot spray when you are done and you have some left over? Proper planning etc, and you still can have left over mixed product from a planned total spray, let alone carrying it around just incase. This is a problem if you do not have tons of accounts.

Also, in the maintenance game, you need to be able to spray many different solutions. Problems like cross contamination, cleaning a tank, etc.. I run my business from my residence, I have little kids, my neighbor does daycare. Can we all see the liability problem I face.

I looked into injection control, but they were all at the pump. 300 feet of hose still has chemicials in it when you stop spraying. It sounds and looks a bit rinky ding, but I tried using a Gilmore professional hose end sprayer. I only carry water in the tank and the chemicals only get mixed right at the hose end. It worked great, the mixture metering was right on the money with the water useage.

Economically, It is great. I sprayed the lawn, shrubs, and ground cover with three different pesticides at one account with one sprayer and one visit with NO wasted pesticide, what is not used goes back into the jug. My sprayer manufacturer had never heard of doing such a thing. Am I crazy, does this NOT make sense.

MOW ED
10-15-2000, 07:19 AM
Skookum,
This was my fifth year on the lawns and the first as a licensed applicator and I am basically in your position. I work from home and am contemplating buying a tank/pump or a a pull behind sprayer next season. I am concerned about having extra mix at the end of the day also.
I am very curious about the Gilmore hose end sprayer as I am looking to expand business slightly next year and believe this sounds like a good solution for me.
Where did you get the sprayer? How much does it cost?
What type of tank/pump setup do you have? What product are you spraying? And any drawbacks that you have experienced? Thanks.

Skookum
10-15-2000, 05:56 PM
MOW ED

The hose end sprayer is a Gilmour # 362-D. I found it, if I remember right, at thier web site, try http://www.gilmour.com I ordered it thru my local Ace Hardware. I have seen it also at Amazon.com in the lawn and garden tools section. It only cost about $16.00. In a world where professional or commercial use usually means expensive, I know this makes it sound so much more like non-professional type equipment.

It's metering is designed to work at 40-60 psi. The meter comes with a needle for teaspoons and one for tablespoons. It will meter/mix up to 10 of either. Most mixtures I use are in the 1-3 oz ranges(2-6 tablespoons per gallon of water). The bottle only holds about 20 ounces.

So, before everyone goes crazy about filling several carrier bottles and the time involved, etc.. I sprayed a 3 acre property entirely - filled the jug 5 times. Yes, this can be a time consuming issue, but I do not spray enough for this to be any major problem. After one spray, the 3 acres are now under control to where I only spot spray, never using more than a few gallons of total mixture, a few ounces of pesticide. Most of my maintenance properties are less than 15,000 sq ft and are the same, I do not spray weed free grass just as a precaution. I know this may not work for many of you big sprayers, but it works great for me. I thought about finding a bigger bottle for bigger jobs, But so few a times that I would need it that I have not stressed about it.

I did go big on the sprayer end. I purchased a 200 gallon skid sprayer from Westheffer. 300 foot high grade hose and rewind reel, 5.5 Honda, 9.5 gpm, 550 psi pump. I slide it up into a 1 ton dump truck and dump it out when I am done. I could have gotten cheaper one, but this one is well made. They do make a 12 volt setup for about have as much which could have worked for me just fine, but I wanted the bigger model just incase I needed it later down the road.

I have sprayed Dormant Oil, Hort Oil, Strike Three, Trimec, Trimec plus, Roundup, Volk Oil, Weed-B-Gon, Ornimec, Malathion, and Sevin. Any chemical heavier or thicker than water needs to be prediluted, information with the Gilmour sprayer tells how. I have sprayed Dormant Oil, Strike Three, and Sevin at one property, all in one visit with one sprayer, plus granular fert that visit as well. Just thought, I also watered some shrubs and flowers another visit later in the year, Do that with a tank mix.

Filling the bottle onsite and the occassional dilution is of course a draw back if you were doing alot of spraying. But for what little I do it works great and the time is worth it knowing that I wasted no chemicals and I am being safe for my nieghbors childern and my own by only running water in my tank 100%.

For the small spraying company like myself, the versitility is what is nice. I plan on adding some PGR's next year and I some fertilizer while watering a few patches of flowers and goundcover.

Hope this book helped.

Lazer
10-15-2000, 06:14 PM
Most state regulations prohibit storing and mixing commercial pesticides at a residential site.

Most pesticide labels prohibit application thru a hose-end sprayer.

Skookum
10-15-2000, 07:32 PM
Well, that's a new one on me. I can not see anything in our state chemist office laws regaurding any such animal. As a licensed applicator as long as you use the proper PPE and procedures by the label what makes the difference where you load. - Besides, we are talking about ounces, not gallons like a huge commercial rig. I do the loading in the back of a dump truck, so incase of a slight spill, it is in the truck bed not the ground.

The bylaws do state about drawing water from streams, lakes, etc... and not loading where a spill could runoff and contaiminate the same lake, stream, etc.. In other words drive up a ways.

Every label must of course be read and understood, But, I have not seen one yet prohibiting use of a hose end sprayer!Unless it is something like a highly retricted use product likes sterilent that prohibits any sort of pressure applied application, including a back back. If so I have NO PLANS of using such chemicials. My long term safety is worth more than a buck.

If anyone knows something else, please acknowledge!

Just thought, How do you load a granular pesticide being applied to a residence, go back to the shop to load each bag?

[Edited by skookum on 10-15-2000 at 10:37 PM]

BRL
10-15-2000, 09:54 PM
Lazer wasn't refering to the handling of the pesticides, but the storage of the pesticide at your residence. I'm in NJ and as long as you store following all of the rules, it is OK to store at a residence, & Ive been inspected & passed. Only one of the labels that I have says you can't use the hose spray option. So until I get a shop some time in the future, you have me considering this option also. Thanks for bringing it up.

Skookum
10-16-2000, 12:40 AM
OH, the storage and mixing issue at my residence. Well this is exactly why I chose to do this type setup for spraying. No tank mixing or equipment cleaning on my property.

I did look into this working from my home issue before getting my first license because I live two miles from the only office that governs and inspects for my state. I have dealt with the office when getting my licenses on several occassions on several issues. They know who I am and where I am. Not too many other applicators with the same zip code, phone number prefix, etc..

I should be legal by all the codes in the state book. But, thanks for pointing that issue out. I am going to look into the book again and double check myself since we have a new book this last year. Always better safe than sorry, those fines can be heafty!