backpack or push sprayer?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by gcbailey, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,754

    I'm thinking forward to next spring and would like some input/suggestions/ideas...

    We are and plan on primarily being a mowing outfit. That being said (as I've stated in other threads) my company became a WV licensed pesticide business and I'm now a 4A (ornamental turf outdoor) applicator. A lot of our clients are already serviced by one of two companies in the area. One being a friendly acquaintance, who is probably the largest in the area by far, and the other is a guy with a Scott's franchise.

    I have picked up 14 of our clients (who were not being currently serviced) and started them on a program this fall. These properties range from approximately 9k sq.ft. to 21k sq.ft. My equipment right now consists of an Earthway 2150, Scotts hand spreader, and a 2 gal Gilmour sprayer.

    I know eventually I will need some type of spray system. Here's the thing. Being as southern WV and southwest VA is, most of our properties are hilly. They lend themselves more toward walk behinds rather than ZTRs. I don't see us becoming the size to #1 needing a ride on sprayer #2 justifying the cost of one...

    I have been trying to read some older threads on here but my lack of knowledge of the subject still has me dumbfounded as to what would be best to have. For the number of clients we currently have, and possibly expanding to around 25 total. What would work the best? As I said, we are primarily a mowing outfit, so I can't justify spending $3,000 on a 50 gal skid sprayer. Is there a decent push sprayer out there than can handle everything that I may need to spray (herbicides, wettable powders, etc...), what about a backpack with a boom? It seems like most of the booms I read about are custom made.

    As I stated above, I need something that would work from approx 9K~21K sq.ft. I know that "good and cheap" don't usually work together, but I would ideally like to spend not over $1,000 on a sprayer as this, for now, is just something to get established and provide a turn key service for those clients who don't want one of the two other companies in the area.

  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    Backpack is the way to go--in my opinion. Inexpensive, and you will still need it even after you buy a big tank sprayer. Push sprayer is heavy--hard to push.
    Hand pump backpack is good. Electric is better. Engine power is also available. No boom needed. Hills--no problem.
    A hand wand that you sweep back and forth across the area to be covered, as you move forward, works nicely. It is also perfect for spot spraying and special problems, like insects.

    By the way how do you like the Earthway 2150? Painted or stainless steel?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,447

    I to would go with a back pack or 2 don't like the push spreader thing have one sitting in the barn I don't think it has moved this year.

    Charles Cue
  4. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,470

    Check out the threads on motorized waking boom used by GreenDoc. I don't have one but it sounds like it would be ideal for your situation.
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,124

    One of the reasons why no one sprays in Hawaii and why I use a walking boom or single nozzle fan is accessibility. Not many lawns lend themselves to Z-Spray or Perma-Green type machines. I have a 100 gallon skid and 300 ft of hose, that I only use on a minority of accounts. Most of my lawns get treated with the engine drive backpack, even if they are large because handling a hose going up hills and narrow long passages is not easy.
  6. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,754

    That's somewhat similar to around here. A lot of our properties are in sub-divisions and there is one HUGE contractor that has built about 15 sub-divisions. Apparently he has always thought more about throwing a house on a lot rather than taking time and extra effort to grade and create a nice lawn. His answer is, leave a hill, put in a retaining wall, chop it all up with flower beds.


    As far as a backpack goes. Here's another question. I'm 6'3", do I need to look into something with a longer wand? What's the ideal height from the ground to spray effectively, around 18"? I am pretty sure I will look toward a battery powered pack. Any preferences regarding brand? Is it based more on the pump or the nozzle on whether or not it's capable of spraying "thicker" products?

    Just remember I'm still very much in a learning phase and still nervous/apprehensive about my first set of applications. I'm getting more comfortable with my calculations on applying granular based on the two granular products I've put down so far, but I realize that liquids is going to be an entirely new set of variables.
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,124

    Go search my posts on engine drive backpack sprayers. I fabricated heavy duty stainless steel pipe wands. They are 24" long. Even at 6'3", that should be long enough to hold nozzles 18" off the ground. If not, stainless wand pipe can be had at 36" or even 48". On the sprayers thenselves, they all run off of Honda GX 25 or 35 engines. No batteries. I dispense liquid fertilizers and a lot of what I spray on warm season turf is a DF. Not clear liquids like Three Way or RoundUp.
  8. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,754

    The one back in 2008, showing a Solo 433?
  9. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,124

    That one. Take note of the ones after that. Since then, I have upgraded the regulator assembly. Otherwise, the boom fitted with the QC check valved nozzle bodies and AI tips is still the same. The AI tips are one of the best things you can do. Cuts down on spray drift tremendously. Even if you do not have sensitive plants down wind of the lawn, remember that whatever blows away does not kill the weeds in the lawn. I look at it as money gone with the wind.
  10. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,754

    The Maruyama doesn't seem to be available anymore, unless I'm overlooking it on their site, all they list are manual and battery sprayers. The Solo seems to be hit/miss available too...

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