Liquid vs. Granular, etc.

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by 3horn, Oct 8, 2000.

  1. 3horn

    3horn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I would like to get some opinions on Liquid versus Granular fertilizer. Pros and cons of each. I am considering a different approach for next year to optimize my time at each client. Right now I use granular fertilizer in one Lesco spreader, Insecticide (when needed) in another Lesco spreader, and Herbicide in Liquid form (other than pre-emergent) in a spray tank on a trailer. This makes for three trips around a lawn for certain customers. Obviously, applying everything in liquid form would be quicker, but there are reasons that I have not done it that way. One is supply and storage of liquid fert. The other is the slow release nature to the granular. Also, I like to have the Liquid Herbicide by itself so I can hit a particular area I little harder if needed without fear of fertilizer burn. However, I do not like making three trips over clients lawns. Also, some clients seem to think that liquid is somehow better (this stems mainly due to the fact that..."anyone can get granular fertilizer at the store, why should I pay a premium for your service). So anyone have a little insight? I have seen advertisements for ride-on spreaders with concentrated low volume sprayers, anyone try one of these. Also, spreader mounted sprayers.
  2. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Liquid is more effective in most cases, works much faster, and is cheeper. Example:

    * Bayleton cost $73 for bag that treats 13,000 sf, or $5.61 per 1000 sf, liquid w.s bags cost $99.00 for 22.5 oz, treats appx. 40,000sf or $2.47 per 1000sf

    Iron, Dimension, Pre-M, all are much cheaper in liquid form.

  3. jaclawn

    jaclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    While it is true that the liquid material may be less expensive in many cases, it is not always the cheapest total route to go.

    You will need a $2500 min, spray setup. That essentially dedicated a truck, or trailer to spraying only.

    Now, here is the hangup with spraying. Flexibility. If you are mixing 200 gallons at a time(absolute minimum), you need to apply all 200 of those gallons. In Kirbsters example, what if he only needed to treat 10K with that BAyleton? He would have to mix a batch special for that.

    ALso, there is the issue of IPM, and only applying pesticides when necessary. If you tank mix fert and weed control, every lawn gets the weed control, whether they need it or not. Same goes for insects...

    I have one of the Perma Green sprayers on a spreader. It works as described. I still have to do some spot spraying around the edges, but overall it is a time saver.

    I can actually apply three products with one pass across the lawn. Fert with insect control(combination probuct), and post emergent weed control through the tank.

    The nice thing about this setup is that if the next lawn only needs fert, I can do that one without making an additional trip. I simply put straight fert in the hopper, and don't trigger the spray.

    Also, the slow release effects of granular fert are much better than its liquid counterpars.
  4. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Simple planning and route scheduling. If I'm out spraying Iron and I need to treat 10,000sf with Bayleton, I simply plan my route accordingly and ad 1 ws pack to the Iron. I then do 2 treatments at once and I'm done.

    I agree that the up front expense is greater, but the flexibility and additional services I can now offer is also much greater and so are my profits. I can now apply several products at one time, therefore saving time by not having to walk behind a spreader applying 2 applications. I can offer deep-root fertilizing, insecticide spraying, and tree/shrub spraying service.

    On the IPM, again simple scheduling and planning. All lawns on a 5-step program get the same treatment at the same time. Any additional treatments are done either via back pack, tank, or granular.

    Also, why is 200 gallons the "absolute minimum"? 2.5 gallons of Iron makes 80 gallons in tank, if that's all I need why mix more?


    [Edited by KirbysLawn on 10-10-2000 at 02:49 PM]
  5. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    We solved the problem of mixing a large batch to treat one or two customers by using a small (35) gallon tank mounted on the side of our tanker. In our case we are mixing 1100 gallons and spraying everyone the same, as Kirby says scheduling, if we have an isolated case of insecticide or fungicide that isn't tank mixed we use the small spray tank. This truck has 750 gallon tank, 350 gallon tank and 35 gallon tank, 3 hose reels, 3 pumps. It has turned into quite a handy truck.
    Profit wise there is no comparison, our chemicals are much less expensive and easier to apply than pushing a spreader. Two of my men would quit if I said we were going to start pushing only.
    Greg Pierce, CTP
  6. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    Who said you have to "push" on your granular materials?

    Also, if you have a Ride-on spreader/sprayer, you can ride, apply fertilizer (granular) and spray at the same time.

    Plus at 3-4000 sq. ft./minute, you just can't get all-liquid down that fast without a golf-course type boom sprayer.

    Unless you have an 1,100 gallon 3 compartment, 3 reel set-up as mentioned, you just can't beat the speed and flexibilty of a combo spread/spray granular/liquid system.
  7. 3horn

    3horn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Lazer, What kind of ride-on do you use? Is the sprayer effective? Do you still have to blow granules off sidewalks, etc?
  8. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    My units are custom built using the drive components of an Exmark Hydro Walk-Behind.

    The Sprayer system is geared toward herbicides with ultra-low volume (16oz/1000) Works extremely well, but drifts in wind quicker than a high-volume unit would.

    I don't blow off granules except is rare circumstances.
  9. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Before I got licensed I use to pay another company to do my pesticides. I saved enough the first year that it paid for my sprayer. I found that I had much more control of my growth rate when I switched to doing all granular fertilizing than when the other company was using a total spray program. Time release granular is a nice steady grow. Spray is a quick green, but it does not last, thus requiring more sprays a year.

    My big problem was I do not want to do anymore fertilizing or pesticides than I have to do. But, it is essential for my commercial total maintenance programs. I believe in limiting the amount of poisions we are putting into our ground, so I only use what is needed and when.

    Question: What do you do with the mixed product you carry on a rider setup as spot spray when you are done and you have some left over? Proper planning etc, and you still can have left over mixed product from a planned total spray, let alone carrying it around just incase. This is a problem if you do not have tons of accounts.

    Also, in the maintenance game, you need to be able to spray many different solutions. Problems like cross contamination, cleaning a tank, etc.. I run my business from my residence, I have little kids, my neighbor does daycare. Can we all see the liability problem I face.

    I looked into injection control, but they were all at the pump. 300 feet of hose still has chemicials in it when you stop spraying. It sounds and looks a bit rinky ding, but I tried using a Gilmore professional hose end sprayer. I only carry water in the tank and the chemicals only get mixed right at the hose end. It worked great, the mixture metering was right on the money with the water useage.

    Economically, It is great. I sprayed the lawn, shrubs, and ground cover with three different pesticides at one account with one sprayer and one visit with NO wasted pesticide, what is not used goes back into the jug. My sprayer manufacturer had never heard of doing such a thing. Am I crazy, does this NOT make sense.
  10. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    This was my fifth year on the lawns and the first as a licensed applicator and I am basically in your position. I work from home and am contemplating buying a tank/pump or a a pull behind sprayer next season. I am concerned about having extra mix at the end of the day also.
    I am very curious about the Gilmore hose end sprayer as I am looking to expand business slightly next year and believe this sounds like a good solution for me.
    Where did you get the sprayer? How much does it cost?
    What type of tank/pump setup do you have? What product are you spraying? And any drawbacks that you have experienced? Thanks.

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