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Choosing a sprayer for a beginner

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by rmmllc, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. rmmllc

    rmmllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    I have studied to take my pesticide exam and will take it when my local extension office is open (next week or maybe not until after new years). I have been mowing for 5 years and decided to get into spray applications this year. I would like some advice on choosing a sprayer. I like some of the ideas I have read about having a large tank- say 200 to 300 gal. (with only H2O, or do you mix your potash and other chemicals in it too?) with a smaller tank (50 gal or so) to make custom applications (for insecticides and pre-emergents, etc). What is the cost on such a unit? Do you custom build them? Can I buy a 200 gallon skid and weld a platform to it with a 50 gallon tank and plumb them to the same pump, then open valves to select which tank to use (am I oversimplifying this- I can do plumbing, but have never done a spray tank- is there more to it than that?)

    Also, what are good brands? I have looked at the Lesco skid. I don't mind buying used- more money in my pocket. Any suggestions?

    I will be doing foundation spraying too, but plan on using 4 gal. backpack sprayers for that.
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I am not familiar with your area or it's needs, But May I suggest you look into a Granular program with minimal spraying. Since you already have ride on mowers just add a Lesco Truckers for fast and easy application of granules. A 25 gal tank and boom sprayer can kill weeds nicely in short order. I realize People have an Ego problem and want the biggest sprayer possible to say they are an applicator. However if you can get past the Ego, Granulars do a fine job.
  3. rmmllc

    rmmllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    I do believe one could do as good a job with granular and a spot sprayer, but is that what the customer wants? In their mind, they can do granular, but not spray, so spray must be better. Is it a hard sell to get them to do granular? My idea was to do a combination of granular and spray apps. Is it difficult to get new customers with a granular program- part of my business plan this year was to offer spray to get those clients who wanted it, then sell them on our lawn mowing as well.

    Thanks for your honest response- it won't hurt my feelings or ego
  4. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    I am in your area, and I can tell you that you can do and sell a killer good program using principally granular apps. I started with Granular, and a 65 gal tank with just H20 which I used to mix backpack and handheld sprayers. At one point I was doing 600 applications/month with this set-up.
    I use a mix of liquid and granular apps now, but if you educate your clients to the advantages of granular feeding, they will respond.
    I now use liquid for my first 2 apps and then my last 4 are granular with liquid spot spraying.
    My brother in Logan does 5 liquid apps and one granular. He has more weed pressure than I do.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,559

    I do not recommend two tanks and one pump and reel--the plumbing and backflow agitation is complex--flip the wrong valve and you are applying the wrong product.

    The Gregson Clark (click above) 200 gal skid sprayer or a Space Saver works out nicely. Apply your fert granular--then apply overall weed control--done.

    If you intend to mix fertilizer with the water and weed control--it is a little more complex and you probably need mechanical agitation to help dissolve the fertilizer.
  6. mow2nd

    mow2nd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    I'm on a granular program, and spot spray for weeds. I pretty much backpack it. But my yards are small. I dont think I have but 1 that is 10,000 sq ft. Most of them between 4,000 and 7,000 sq ft. I have 100 gal tank for water, and mix up my back pack when I need too. I started focusing more on my application business last April, so I don't need a tank sparyer yet, but I'm not ruling it out for when I pick up more business................Good Luck on ur test and ur application business, clearly there is more money in doing applications than mowing..............Mowing is for the birds.
  7. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    What is your mowing base in Brigham City? There is probably a lot of potential there. I have often wondered if anyone competitive is applicating in Mantua.

    If you need more input/advice, let me know, Whoop, (located in Logan) and I can give you some pointers.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Boom sprayers they're called.

    What I don't get is, they send you to school and they don't teach you this?
    They don't teach you about how many gallons / day, that if you have 20 yards to do in the next month and a 300 gallon tank can do 30 that if the shelf life of the product is 30 days you might encounter a problem? They don't teach you that unless all 20 yards use the same application that you'll want several smaller tanks so you don't run into contamination issues using the same tank?
    That amazes me, no offense, but why all the hoopla, why bother going through the motions if they don't teach some basics?

    Oh yeah I know, and on the test they ask these questions, man...

    Because I'd consider something more along the lines of 40 -60 gallons or thereabouts...
    We're talking stuff that sprays fine enough you might only use 8- 10 maybe 15-20 gallons per yard, even if it uses more that stuff weighs 8 pounds per gallon so 200 gallons is 1600 pounds... Only folks I know use tanks 150+ gallons are chemical companies with a lot of customers, I'm sure the smaller tanks needing to be refilled might eventually get annoying but for starters it should present no problem, that keeps shelf life in mind as well.
    Then you'll need a vehicle for the application and so on, I recall seeing a tow-behind unit that runs 2-3-400'ish or thereabouts, tank and all, not sure on the gallons but below 100.
  9. rmmllc

    rmmllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Not much going on in Mantua. Dandy Lawns is the only local spray competition I know of besides C-Lawn. I know some come up from Ogden, but not sure on the names. Thanks for the offer- I may take you up on it. I have seen your site before- nice site. I am in Logan quite often- I do a bit of Real Estate investing there. We may have to get together for lunch some day.
  10. rmmllc

    rmmllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    You are right- they do not "teach" (you just read a book) a lot to be licensed. I believe they should teach more on practical stuff such as equipment. Most of the book is on handling chemicals and such. I have considered a trailer- either a self contained unit or mounting a skid sprayer on one of my existing trailers (make it a dedicated spray trailer). I appreciate your thoughts.

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