View Full Version : Which spray set up should I buy

bart may
03-19-2004, 01:37 AM
I need some advice from you spray pros. I own a lawn mowing company. We mow about 250 accounts a week. My customers keep asking me to spray, so finally I just got my license. I will be spraying 2 large condo assoc. for sure. One is 275,000sf and the other is 435,000sf. I'm sure I'll get most of my other clients once I let them know I'm spraying.

My question is what size(gallons), what make or model would be a good starter sprayer. Price isn't really a factor. I know that I'll pay it off. I'm tired of fighting Chemlawn over application rates they are applying and so are my customers. Please take a few minutes to help me. I'm in Montana so no need to worry about competition.

smoke johnson
03-19-2004, 07:34 AM
Z-spray is the best sprayer ot there i own several and that is the only thing that i will every buy. z-spray.com

03-19-2004, 11:19 AM
those z-sprayers look pretty sweet! Anyway, I was just wondering if you want backpack sprayers, or something a little smaller? I really like the plain old solo backpack sprayers, but they are only 4 gal.
Anyway have a great day!!...Jon

03-19-2004, 12:21 PM
luvdasnow, don't you think that it will take a long time to spray 435,000 m with a back pack sprayer? If you are going to have alot of large accounts like the two that you mentioned, I think you should use a setup similar to chemlawn, if those are the only two that are that big go with a smaller tank, the people that you will be marketing to are already used to seeing it done the way that chemlawn is doing it, if you go in with a z-spray or perma green ride on spreader what do you think they will think of that.

03-19-2004, 12:24 PM
WWW.Z-SPRAY.COM all the way!

03-19-2004, 02:20 PM
I would get a skid type sprayer with at least a 500 gal tank, basically set up like Chemlawn does with the chem lawn gun.

I don't much care for their marekting techniques and some of their so called agronomy, but they did develop the most efficient application equipment. We have three trucks set up that way, and have found nothing else that works as well. We set up our first truck that way in 1980. Since then, we have tried numersous different approaches to applications, and have found nothing that is better or faster.

Austreim Landscaping

03-19-2004, 04:03 PM
As Doug said....be sure you have a truck that will handle the weight...you'll be around 5000lbs with a full 500gals including weight of the tank itself.

bart may
03-19-2004, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the replies. If I did go with a 200 gallon tank how often would I have to mix up just doing those 2 big ones? Also I haven't got a clue how you mix or anything. Do you by fert. that is pre packaged in bags that you can just drop in the tank or do you use dry and agitate until dissolved in your tank? I'm sure your thinking why are you spraying if you can't figure that out. I know that the competition won't give advice and we don't have a Lesco or supplier like that to go to. Thanks for your help

2 man crew
03-19-2004, 04:12 PM
With 435,000 sq ft make sure you have enough hose to get the whole property.

bart may
03-19-2004, 04:15 PM
The property is cut up nasty. Lots of trees and things to go around. I'm sure that it will take me awhile. Most skid mounts have 300 ft. I guess I'll have to just move around to cover it all.

2 man crew
03-19-2004, 04:19 PM
You need to calibrate your self with the sprayer to get any type of mix rate. The product label will have the mix rate also. It depends on the product and calibration for your mix rate.

As far as the fertilizer. There are both liquid and dry you can add to the tank. The dry is called "prilled urea 46-0-0" aka lawn crack.

bart may
03-19-2004, 04:26 PM
What would you recommend for Kentucky Blue. I take it that the Prilled is not the way to go?

James Cormier
03-19-2004, 04:40 PM
I would consider going the perma green or zspray or C&S sprayer route. Why would you want a truck with a big tank slosshing around behind you, Then you need fill stations back at your shop, if you go with liquid fert you need some storage and pump sysytem to fill,

Plus when people see a big truck with a huge tank on the back they think he comes another one of those chemical companys or when they see some guy pulling a hose with all the protective gear on they think the same thing.

I am so glad when I sold my tanks and went the P-G machines. I dont miss those days of full pulls to spray commercial.

But if you already got the tank, most spray systems are anywhere from 1.5-3.0 gallons per K.

So a 200 gallon tank will do 133,000sq ft if you spray at 1.5gallon per k

bart may
03-19-2004, 04:57 PM
how do those style of sprayers work? Don't they have just mini tanks that you would have to refill? Fill me in.

James Cormier
03-19-2004, 05:28 PM

Check it out, I own 2, the ultra and the centri ( older model ) all though I have many complaints about them I would never go back to push a spreader or pulling a hose. I started in fert & Squirt ( the new lawn care term ) back in 86 and spent many years pulling those damm hoses :)

The ultra has a 8 gallon tank that sprays 32,000 sqft , I fill it up at my customers houses, but this season I am going to carry a 50 gallon nurse tank in my trailer, The hopper holds 100lbs of fert, its very easy to get around and you don't have the liability of 500 gallons of juice on the back of your truck,

The zspray seems like a nice machine and I will be looking at adding that to my fleet ( Im big time :) ) this season. So other guys in here can fill you in on that machine

I carry both machines in the trailer, they go in the side door, and pallets of fert are loaded in the back swing out doors.

James Cormier
03-19-2004, 05:32 PM
The one on the left is the centri, that sprays 64,000 sq ft per tank and the one on the right is the new ultra.

03-19-2004, 06:09 PM
Greetings, have you thought of doing a dry/granular application?? and have a seperate riding spray unit. I have been very successful with my equipment.

bart may
03-19-2004, 09:38 PM

What type of fert do you mix in one of those machines. Does it have to be a wettable powder or can you use granular and agitate it?

bart may
03-19-2004, 09:43 PM

I'm a ****** I just answered my own question. Your spreading the fert. and spraying the Herbicide. no need for agitation

bart may
03-19-2004, 09:45 PM
I have another question though. How do you do tight areas with the spray like around flower beds. Is drift a problem?

03-20-2004, 10:12 AM
With our big trucks, laying down 3 gal per thousand, a good average rate is about 100 gals per hour with limited truck travel. A 200 gal tank then will last about two hours

Austreim Landscaping

James Cormier
03-20-2004, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by bart may
I have another question though. How do you do tight areas with the spray like around flower beds. Is drift a problem?

Once you get use to the machine you can come pretty close to edges, they also have a small hand bottle that comes with the spreader that you can fill right out of the spray tank, that works great.

I also carry a little hand held spreader, Speedy green I think, but that hangs of one side and its shaped like a scoop, so if there is a small area I cant get into with the spreader I just hop off and hit it with that little bugger.

03-20-2004, 11:23 AM
If I were to make a suggestion as to what to buy as a first piece of equipment I would say to get a spray tank. The one that impresses me most is the compact 200-gallon unit made by lesco. The Kawasaki engine is nearly as indestructible as the hypro pump. The hannay reel and chemlawn gun are unbeatable. This will set you back $3000. It is designed to fit in the front of the pickup body. With the 600,000 feet you need to do at about 40M +/- per hundred gallons (depending on what nozzles you use and how your calibration works out) it will take seven or so fills to complete the two properties. Yes you will be tired when you finish and yes you'll not go as fast as you will with the ride-ons. (I have Turf Trackers, myself, but I started with just a push spreader and a 100-gallon tank to spray with and took care of 10 million feet. I'm not nearly as young or as good looking as I was 15 years ago so I now sit on my fat a__ to get things done). As your business grows add the ride-on of your choice to the fleet and use the 200-gallon sprayer as a nurse tank. I have found that nothing is as good as a chemlawn gun to get the weeds in the corners and along the contours. As far as using urea in the spray system make up your own mind. Turfgrass doesn't care where it gets its nitrate. Use a prilled urea at about 1/2 #N/M once you've gotten used to using the gun. You can spray up to about 80 degrees as long as there is ample soil moisture. There are also soluble compete fertilizers you can buy at reasonable prices. The real fun comes from experimenting and learning new things.

03-20-2004, 11:52 AM
i would get the perma green it is not that costly and spreads and sprays great u will need to get a nurse tank 55gal drums work well
if u are going to spread mainly granular products this is the machine
if u go liquid get a tank
i have had the big tanks and ended up with this machine because i can mix up what i need and if the weather changes i only have 8 gal of stuff to deal with and if i have a wreck less chance of spill
takes up less storage space, does not tie up a truck and i can spread grass seed with it
good luck with your choice

James Cormier
03-20-2004, 12:44 PM
All right here's several ways to look at it

1. Get your spray tank, lets say 300 gallons, you most likely will spray at 1.5 per K so that tank will do 200,000 sq ft. So if you need to fill it several times to spray this site are you going to return to your shop to refill? Most likely so now your talking a whole day or longer to do this site, I sure you will be making several full pulls so you will work your tail off. Now if you spraying fert and weed then you would most likely be applying weed control to areas of turf that doesnít need it. Wasted money there.

2. Get the ride on, or any ride on that is, carry a 50-gallon nurse tank, doesn't even have to have a pump system just let gravity work for you. So you can fill on site with your own water, Now I sure you can carry enough fert in the truck or van so you donít have to leave the site. Instead of walking 600,000 sqft pulling hoses around trees, cars, buildings you get to ride around. You would be able to spray the weeds you see, don't have to blanket the site, so you use less product, Makes since environmentally and finically

I don't know about you guys but I like to work less, make more and use fewer products

James Cormier
03-20-2004, 12:53 PM
I dont like the lesco tanks cause alot of the hoses are under the tank or below the level of liquid in the tank, so if you have a hose blow your gonna lose alot of material before you can shut things down, Gravity is bad in this case, it allways happens when your 250 feet away from the tank :)

Greggson clark makes a nice tank set up where all the pumps and motors are above the tank so if something lets go you have less loss of material,

Then again if you have a perma green this is not a worry, I carry straight water in my nurse tank and just mix the material as I go.

And remember these days.... you go out with 300 gallons only to find the landscaper there mowing ( or insert the other 100 reasons you could run into ) so now you cant spray and you got to keep that mix of powder blue or what ever your using from cloggin up the strainer,

I really think spray tanks will become a thing of the past with lawn care companies

Plus everything I carry is in the trailer, so at the end of the day I disconnect at the shop and drive my truck home, I never put chemicials in the pick up.

My 1 gallon jugs of weed control are locked up in a storage box in side the trailer,
My supplier loads the fert throught the back doors with a fork truck so the furtherst (SP? ) I carry a bag is from the top of the pallet to the machine parked right next to the door.

When its raining I just drive back into the trailer to fill the hopper, nothing gets wet, no loss days to rain.

bart may
03-21-2004, 01:34 AM
Thanks for all the replys. Although this will be my first year spraying. I feel that you've sold me on a ride on unit, mostly for the fact that your not dealing with all that liquid. I really like granular better anyway, seems to have a longer residual. I do have another question though.
1. What types of fert are you using? Any with iron?

2. If you have iron is there a problem with controling it from staying on patios sidewalks ect....?
It seems that as you would go through a narrow area you'd be shooting that fertilizer all over, against the building, in beds, and walks. So is this really a concern I should have, especially if I'm using some iron?

03-21-2004, 09:22 AM
my pg unit has a side deflector and if it is that tight i use a hand spreader

03-21-2004, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by James Cormier
IThen again if you have a perma green this is not a worry, I carry straight water in my nurse tank and just mix the material as I go.

My 1 gallon jugs of weed control are locked up in a storage box in side the trailer,
James, I don't know about other states, but in MI, you cannnot mix concentrated chemicals at the customers site.

03-21-2004, 09:55 AM
I think it is likely that the mixing and loading regualtions in a lot of states might be a factor.

Austreim landscaping

James Cormier
03-21-2004, 12:32 PM
How do you fill hand cans? or backpack sprayers?

Do you have to go back to the shop to fill them?

Maybe your regs only protain to high volume sprayers, like tanks and not low volume sprayers like hand cans and these low volume ride on units, Im just guessing but I will look into it on monday

03-21-2004, 06:25 PM
James - hand sprayers, backpack sprayers, etc. need to be filled at your shop.

James Cormier
03-21-2004, 06:38 PM
Are you kidding me, thats crazy,

talk about backwards, I guess they rather you drive around with several hundred gallons of mix then small bottles of concentrate.

It cant be against the law to travel with the concentrate right? only to mix on site?

I guess the only way around that would be to mix your nurse tank and use that to fill your machine.

The state of mass has no regs on labeling your tank, talk about crazy, you get into a accident and your not alive to tell the fire dept whats all that juice flowing down the street.

DOT has regs for this but for only above certain gallons and gvw's of truck, so a pick up with 100 gallon tank has no regs.

This was according to my last inspection by pesticide dept couple years ago when they did a records inspection and warehouse inspection. Not Fun

BTW I toured MI back in 88 on my motorcycle what a nice state I followed the coast all the way around, camped out in sleeping bears National park, That tour I also lasted 2 weeks and 4800 miles, No kids back then.

03-21-2004, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by James Cormier

It cant be against the law to travel with the concentrate right? only to mix on site?

BTW I toured MI back in 88 on my motorcycle what a nice state I followed the coast all the way around, camped out in sleeping bears National park, That tour I also lasted 2 weeks and 4800 miles, No kids back then. You can carry concentrate, but it has to be separated from the passenger compartment and secured (sounds like some of the gun laws). Glad you enjoyed MI. Stop back again and look me up. I'm close to world class bass, salmon, and musky fishing, along with some of the best walleye fishing in the state.

03-21-2004, 08:31 PM
For the large properties you will be glad you have a ride on unit. For small areas you need a tank with a lawn gun. I have both setups . I built my own ride on unit on a Z mower I have. Cost me under $500 . Also use same machine with fert spreader. There is nothing worse than dragging 300 feet of hose up hills and around trees, etc..Or pushing a spreader on 2 or 3 acre lawns.