Compost tea skid sprayers under $5,000?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lawncuttinfoo, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,010

  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Maybe Tom J will step in here he has played with many models of sprayers

    In another forum on this subject it basically said, while most pumps, centifical, diaphram, piston, are fine to the biology it is really the PSI that effects it most. Some claim that piston pumps really chew up the hyphi of the fungi, folks typically try to stay with disphram type pumps for CT.

    I personally have no experience with this
     
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    2 informative posts from a long time compost tea applicator, Carl Brodeur from another conversation

    I’m in Mass and we use Lesco equipment. I’ve done plenty of testing (SFINY) on 3 different spray rigs from Lesco. The results are fine. No problems. They are diaphram pumps. Our applications are for lawns, trees and shrubs. We do lawn applications, over head spraying, soil drenches and soil invigorations. We’ve been doing it since 2002. It is very effective with great client satisfaction. We service our own machines. If Lesco is in your area then you get all the support and service need to keep running throughout the season.

    I’m not saying they are the only one, but from a business stand point, they meet the need in a timely manner, and for us they are local. Time down is a big issue for me and they remove that problem fairly efficiently. Just my 2 cents.

    For overhead spraying of small trees and shrubs we use a stihl back pack mist blower. For bigger stuff we use the Hypro gun # 3381-0011 (actually our gun is an older version that they do not make anymore, but this gun replaced it). For tea apps we stand back and sort of lob the tea on the plant, trying to mimmic rain. We use this for garlic apps and hort oil apps, also. For the lawn we use the Lesco chemlawn gun (just google lawn spray gun). It has a white tip and it puts out 4 gal./minute. If there is a screen we remove it. The holes are plenty big to allows some compost materials to flow through. Some times it clogs, but very rarely.

    We have a 4 lesco sprayers; a 100gal., 2-200 gal and a 300 gal. The 300 gal unit has a mechanical agitator that we thought we needed, but alas we didn’t. So we waisted a little $. The others are recirculators that work great. We leave them running and they do a great job keeping the tea aerated. They all have diaphram pumps and on calm days we can build a column 50’-60’ up. That’s my estimate, but the eyes ain’t what they used to be.
     
  4. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    I drove all the way to Canada and got a 210 gallon sprayer form Rittenhouse. great folks. Ask for Toni.

    I paid $2600 with a low profile tank (special order), Honda engine, hypro diaphragm pump - made for compost tea - 60-70 psi.

    The problem -

    I don't think you can really get a good sprayer for under 5K that works perfect.

    My sprayer was fine spraying water but when I added my tea with very minor suspended OM (vermicompost) it bogged down my 30 mesh screen and I had to take it out for it to work - so now I'm at risk of blowing out my pump cause it is exposed. I use a filter bag when brewing my tea so I won't get rocks,etc but just a little sludge bogs down the screen (totally) and the psi has already dropped a few psi's so I would imagine it is already gunking up the pump???. I make sure to run fresh water (with agitator on) as soon as I get back from spraying but I bet I will be replacing my pump this summer - I will keep you posted!

    Problem 2 make sure you get a tank that is higher than the pump. Mine was equal (level with) the pump and since diaphragm pumps are gravity fed and (mine can't be primed) this was a problem - so I had to rig a bunch of insulation (pink panther) boards together to get it raised and not add even more weight to my truck (have to keep it under 10000lbs to keep DOT off my butt) this got it up 5 inches, but now it is just about blocking my back window of my truck and negates the low profile tank. Just another hick up in the circle of organics - the good thing is since I'm using basically Styrofoam to raise the tank I can slide it out when not in use (and see out the window). But I'm getting so many folks on my 7 app a year compost tea/organic matter program I'm pretty much spraying tea 3 to 4 days a week - tough problem huh - keep marketing it and you will have these problems too! Go organic!
     
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    James,

    Would it be too much to ask for you to take some pictures of soil cores for one of your new clients from the beginning of the program? It would be interesting for all involved with organics to see the progression of soil changes under your program. I would suggest checking the soil before your applications.
     
  6. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,010

    Barefoot James,

    Rittenhouse has the Diaphragm pump sprayer listed at 550 psi
    http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/product.asp?PG=29

    I contacted Rittenhouse and they told me that they recommend their Hypro Centrifugal Pump sprayer
    http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/product.asp?PG=1066
    Was this not available when you purchased yours?

    Also, when did you purchase yours? They now have them listed at $3069 for diaphragm and $2617 for centrifugal.

    I will be brewing my tea in a separate container, so will I have less problems with clogging?


    If we took out the $5K limit, what would be the perfect sprayer?
     
  7. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643


    I've been using a Hypro pump with no strainer for the last 4 years or so. I strain the tea when it comes out of the brewer and the only problem I have had is occasional clogging of the Lesco gun (white tip, 4 GPM).

    I contacted Gregson Clark about building a custom rig to add to our existing tank setup. It will add a 50 gallon nurse tank, dual hose/dual trigger gun (one trigger for tea, other for soil amendments), dual hose reel, pump for about 3k....It's a good deal, not too far off from parting it out and building myself.
     
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    This one, made by Sherrill Tree

    Purely org Truck.jpg
     
  9. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    we use 2 lesco sprayers and they work just fine, diaphragm pumps that pick up just fine. we used them out of the box with only 1 mod, a 2 gallon industrial filter that has 50 mesh screen in pleats. it bolted on the sprayers just fine in the stock local with new bolts. we have tested tea before and after spraying at 350psi with no change in biology.
    the sprayer fits in a van or pickup with no tools or "pink stuff" and was in-stock at the local lesco $3700
     
  10. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    Shows what I know about my own stuff. I have a Hypro Centrifugal Pump.
    I sprayed 210 gallons today with the new 5 inches if height I added to the bottom and it worked fine - no problems priming. So I hope the mild solids from the vermicompost I use don't clog up the Pump??

    Kiril - I would love to get pics and stuff but as of yet I don't have a core sampler - I have had several clients who I sold getting their lawns tested for OM and Cal to Mag and all the regular basic stuff the University of Kentucky does for soil samples. But it would be great to have a core sample pic from each yard to compare the rich dark topsoil grow down over the next year. I will work on this.

    I would get a turbo turf 500 gal hybrid sprayer 10K with jet AND mechanical agitation so I could spray what ever I want and spray compost tea. I would also get a pressure gauge that allowed me to use 90 psi or less when spraying CT - I think this would be ideal - because the sprayer would be multil purpose - just keep it organic - no chemicals allowed. Once a sprayer sprays chems who know what it does to the tea.

    ICT say Sherril Tree and another good CT company is Green Pro - http://greenprosolutions.com/home.htm

    But again these a CT only and I think we all need to look at multi purpose stuff. I encourage the industry as a whole to start testing CT out of the brewer (which we do) but where is the testing out of the sprayer??? Results are one thing but the company that starts testing both sides will win. We are sooo young! 10 years from now it will be all figured out - we are the future of yard care.
     

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