z spray fert bridging

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by greenerpastures, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    With all the posts on this machine, perhaps this is pertinent.

    I have operated a z spray since November and have been amazed at its productivity on spraying apps. We just began granular ferts here last week and I have experienced some difficulty with bridging of fert in the spyker hopper. I visited with spyker a couple of times on solutions. I did install a screen and have tried different types of agitators, but none really helped. The fertilizer would feed through your standard lesco pusher.

    It soon became evident that the fert contained too much moisture to properly feed especially in humid conditoins. Yes it is a urea based nitrogen fert. No, it is not SCU what I normally use, but that is a different matter that soon will be rectified. Finally, I tried some year-old SCU fert that had been in the back of the shop. It spread beautifully.

    My supplier now has 8 pallets of fert that could be bought cheap. The hassle has delayed us a week. Hope it can help others avoid the problem.
     
  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Im not a huge fan of spyker spreaders, thats one thing about the zspray I dont like,

    How does the machine open the spreader , is it cable or shaft?

    Is the opening in the spreader one slot or holes (like the lesco)

    Lesco makes a nice drop in screen for there 80lbs spreaders I use them in my pg's there alittle small but its better then the flat screen that comes with the machines.
     
  3. cemars

    cemars LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    I'll answer for greener pastures. The Z-spray has a slot, not holes. The slide is operated by a cable just like the PG's. I have a theory on why this bridging seems to occur more often in Z's and PG's than push spreaders and it is the agitator arm. On the mechanical machines the agitator moves faster and continuously regardless of the wheel speed. Could this be attributing to the problem by reducing the integrity of the product? What do you guys think?
     
  4. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    I havent found bridging, or clumping to be a problem in either machine that I have (centri & ultra ) I think it maybe a product problem?? Ive got some no name product for some suppliers, you know I m doing this huge site and need some dirt cheap fert, So they go out back and get some weird stuff, just to get rid of it.

    The one thing I like about lesco is there products are first rate, I also buy from Carovail, and there straight fert is good stuff.

    My centri has a small metal arm that spins around in circles, my ultra has the normal lesco z thing that shakes back and fourth. Both seem to work fine for me.

    Maybe the spyker set up( spins in circles ) does break up the material almost turning it into powder, that would clog faster than pellets.
     
  5. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    All above are correct, and after conversations with spyker, I think they recognize it to be a flaw ---- and it can be a very serious one if you have three athletic fields to do before gametime and you are sitting there poking in your hopper with a stick ----- very professional huh. Anyway, polymer-coated or SCU products only from now on for the z.

    Spyker said they were "considering" revamping the agitator. I doubt it would be much of a problem on the smaller z jr., but I have not run one. But I do really like the hydraulic drive that Rich uses on the unit and the quick pattern adjustment.
     
  6. 6inline

    6inline LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I'll also agree about the bridging problem with the Spyker electric units being a pain. Especially with about 100# of fertilizer in the hopper. One observation when comparing to a push spreader (ie. lesco, earthway, & others) the bottom of the hopper is seldomly kept on a level plane. Allowing small particles to be constantly forced out by starting out , stopping and bouncing of the spreader. Whereas the bottom of the Spyker hopper is level with a large area in front of the shaft just collecting finer particles at all times. SCU products occasionally bridge also but infrequently! (About once every 10 to 15 bags put through unit). Although an inconvenience; I can spread more fert per day than by pushing!!!
     
  7. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    After a couple weeks of spreading with the z I am still having the nagging bridging problem. I still blame the majority of it on horrible quality control by Pro-Mate fertilizer marketed by Helena Chemical. For some reason, SCU blends are out of stock right now, even though I ordered back in winter. Tried a 15-5-10 blend and it was so dusty I could hardly see and then it began to bridge. My question is if anyone has found this to be an ongoing problem or just my bad lots of fert. I still like the z enough that am considering a z jr. just for spreading (I would hope the smaller hopper is more efficient). With a quality fert, I have spread 60 bags in a workday with the z.
     
  8. cemars

    cemars LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Try removing the agitator to fix the bridging problem. I had the same issue and removed the agitator with no noticeable consequences. Another suggestion is to empty the spreader completely every 2-3 fills to check the bottom of the hopper.
     
  9. get rich

    get rich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 195

    I had the same problem with a round of fert and returned all 7 pallets. They said bad product, not enough drying agent in a batch of bags. Refunded 7 new pallets next day. Never had the problem again. Some people spray the inside of the hopper with pam or some type of silicone spray to keep the product flowing down.
     
  10. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    get rich-

    What blend were you using?
     

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