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Compost Tea/Backpack Sprayers

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Phazeekus, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Phazeekus

    Phazeekus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Does anyone use a Shurflo SRS-600 to spray compost tea? Can compost tea be sprayed through any regular backpack sprayer or must you get one specifically designed for that? Thanks.
  2. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,010

    I plan to use a brand new (no chemicals ever used in it) Lesco (Solo) diaphragm backpack sprayer this year.
  3. cspaugh

    cspaugh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    If I understand correctly a piston pump will put to much pressure on the organisims, therefore go with the diaphram type mentioned above.
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    The piston vs diaphram pump is especially true if you are spraying AACT as the piston tends to chew up the hyphi of the fungi. I am not sure of there would be any difference if you were applying an extracted or mostly dormant biology compost tea

    I do know that it makes a difference on the type of nozzle that you are using, you want something that puts out a good volume as a spray not a mist. You want to put down 40 to 50 gallons per acre.

    Typical instructions are "spray til drip" which is normally around 1.5 gallons per 1000

    We have not done SFI testing yet to see which brand delivers the best results in the field. Note to self, SFI test sprayers

    Hopefully Barefoot James will chime in here, I know he uses a 4 gallon electric backpack sprayer for his applications. I don't remember the manufacturer
  5. Phazeekus

    Phazeekus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Well, apparently the company doesn't even know if compost tea can be sprayed through their backpack. I emailed them to ask and this is the reply I got back:

    "This is a tough call as compost tea can vary so wildly in its composition and chemical make-up. You might buy a used standard SLV Pump and set-up to spray such compounds to see how it works long term before investing in the backpack"

    The shurflo srs-600 does use a diaphragm pump so I'm tempted to try it out but I wish there was somebody who has one that has tried it. Where are you Barefoot James?

    So otherwise, what does everyone use to spray compost tea? What are the definite tested and tried units that do the best job?
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    The start up model is typically a 30 gallon with hose reel that you can easily put in and out of your truck
    Some people like a pull behind

    Backpack sprayers will exhaust you by the end of the day. Could you imagine pumping the sprayer all day long, I was just talking with a buddy. The typical acre takes antwhere from 80 to 130 gallons of water to spray.

    OK let me do the math here 4 gallon backpack sprayer and I need to apply 100 gallons of water mix with.............I'm exhausted just thinking about it

    I believe Barefoot uses a hudson 12V electric backpack sprayer
  7. Phazeekus

    Phazeekus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Hey thanks for all the good info Bill, appreciate it. I know if I'm going to get serious about going organic(which I am) I will have to go to a setup as you described. Thing is, I only have a couple customers with tiny little lawns that have signed on for organic this year, so I figured a backpack would be a lot cheaper and do the job until I can get a few more customers to "see the light". haha I'm going to look into that hudson, see if there's anything diiferent than the shurflo. I really want a shurflo, heard they're the cats a$$.
    Thanks again.
  8. nadgnik

    nadgnik LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    ICT Bill, I have visited your website and am interested in learning more about compost teas. I too am interested in offering organic programs and have been reading everything from organic fertilizers to corn gluten to compost teas (most of which I have never heard about). I have owned a full service landscape maintenance company in Boise, Idaho for 18 years, and will be dedicating this season to understanding the benefits of switching from synthetics to organics. After I have educated myself, I will then begin offering the services to my clients. Convincing my residential clients to make the switch will be easy, but I am not sure about my commercial accounts, which are more concerned with competitive pricing. I am also interested in other ideas anybody might have about being "socially responsible". This year we are implementing a mulching program with the debris we remove from our properties. We have a 30 week mowing schedule in Idaho, and during the dry months (20 weeks) we will be mulching the grass clippings (in the past we removed all clippings because it improved the appearance of our sites). I am learning that with the use of organic fertilizers (less topgrowth) mulching is the better option. We have also recently purchased several blowers/trimmers/edgers that meet current emission standards. I am already dedicated to making a difference, and welcome any and all ideas.
  9. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,138

    I think you're going to find that more commercial clients are going green in many ways. You can most likely service them with natural products and save them money, water and make life better for their employees. PepsiCo has taken this route.
  10. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    There are several national (and international) companies that have organic lawn franchises now taking care of their properties
    At one national fastfood place you will soon see a little sign in all of the mid atlantic and northeast by the speaker that says


    Think Ronald, national hotel companies, international car companies, etc.

    they are all going organic, it is just too good of a story to pass up.

    We get calls from these types of companies every week.

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