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Use of marking dye for herbicide apps

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,731


    most of you know, first season getting into fert/squirts. Plan to do dry fert with Lesco spreader and will use backpack sprayer for apps. 4 gallon Shurflo battery powered most likely. Will only be looking at doing resi's, 8k sq ft and under, due to the limitations of the backpack. Will need to blanket at least one app with the backpack for each of my customers - with good coverage, spot spray the remainder.

    Due to my relative inexperience as an applicator, and the use of a b/p for blanket spray - would it be wise for me to use a marking dye for the first round/(or season) so that I get proper coverage of herbicide? I am concerned about my quality right out of the chute and don't want to be willy-nilly with my apps and lose my biz straight away. If you think a marking dye would be a good idea - what brand/s do you recommend. I have heard some say the turf looks like a smurf when finished....not sure I am interested in that extreme.

  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,051

    When I was new to broadcasting turf with a single nozzle fan, I used a marker dye. No swinging wand left to right, pressure was regulated to 40 PSI at the wand and a relatively constant pace was maintained, no running across the lawn in an attempt to do 1000 sq ft in less than a minute. This is not an athletic contest or a Survivor stunt. Screw this up and you might well lose more than a few dollars because the job took longer than you planned. Imagine looking incompetent and losing the account entirely. Flip side to this is becoming known as the one who does a thorough job and not having to be cheap. I used Blazon Blue at 1/2 oz per gallon. This served many purposes, including verifying coverage and any off target movement of the spray. What I wanted to see is an even faint blue tint to the grass. I did not want to see spots or drops on the leaves of the weeds and grass. If that was happening either the amount of surfactant was wrong, the nozzle size/type was incorrect, incorrect surfactant, travel speed was incorrect or not enough pressure/volume at the tip. I do not use a marker dye much these days. I can normally see a distinct film of spray on the grass and weeds if I am covering less than 1/2 acre at a time. I am very good at lining up my next pass 4-5 inches into the previous one. Over a 1/2 acre, previously sprayed areas can dry before I make the return pass. The same wand I use on my power backpack sprayer also quick couples onto my hose from the skid sprayer.
  3. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,794

    i started the same way and did not use a marker dye, but would be a good idea. i used a backpack with a mini boom on the end of the wand that sprayed 48". this was good for me cause at the time all the places i treated we mowed with 48" mowers and i could just follow stripes. i calibrated my walk speed for 1000 ftsq to about 1 gal per K and then mixed accordingly. you can do the same!!! good luck
  4. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,070

    Another thing you can try is flagging the job before you begin spraying. Find a comfortable spraying width, say 2 paces wide, then mark off rows. Then it’s like coloring between the lines. I use double flags on every third row just so I don’t get lost. Being partially color blind I trouble seeing dyes. I flag odd shaped pieces on larger areas that I cannot cover with my boom, which sprays 14' wide. Then I go back and hit the let over areas with the hose and gun. If I only plan to go over a field one direction I often flag it first, especially for granular fertilizer, sprayed fertilizers, and sprayed herbicides. Some of my friends mock and ridicule me for this practice, but my applications look good.
  5. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,794

    sounds very time consuming to me but i am sure it works very well. i am colorbling too, but i am sure i could see the3 dyes as far as contrast. def not red or green as i would never be able tosee thta one!!!
  6. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,070

    Sorry about all those typos in the last post. Yeah, it takes a a little time. Rectangular fields aren't too bad but on baseball fields it's easy to come out of the turns along outfield fences and get temporarily lost sometimes. The angle with the fence keeps changing as you move across the field. Last thing I need is to watermelon stripe one.

    I'm not too fast, but I'm not too good either. :)
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,051

    What are you talking about? You are good for caring enough about what you are doing to put down a uniform application with no misses or double sprayed areas. Some people would rather do the job fast and convince themselves they put down an accurate and effective application.
  8. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,169

    I think when guys refer to the "smurf look", they mean the applicator not the lawn. The good part about using dye is you can see how much your getting on yourself.

    I can usually see the tire tracks from my spreader and use them as a guide while spraying.

    As far as your question about brands, I would think all brands would work equally well but I can't say that from experience. If your supplier sells more than one brand, they should be able to tell you about the differences.
  9. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,070

    Thanks greendoctor. I was poking a little fun at myself to save my friends the trouble. Some of my posts run on but I don't take myself too seriously.

    Good point, mngrassguy, about seeing how much the applicator catches. A golf course I once worked at used to send new guys out in a row boat on one of its large ponds to scatter powdered dye in the water. Of course they waited for a day that was windy as hell and told them it had to be really thrown to get thorough coverage. Poor guys looked awful (for several days).
  10. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,273

    Keeping you place or moving in a straight line are no problems with a GPS. I could show you how to do that is an hour. It is maintain the truck speed that is hard. Greendoctor has a wonderful space age system that uses the truck tire revolutions to adjust the mixture according to speed. Using something like a Kabota or similiar tractor with a constant speed plus a GPS plus a marking fluid like Brazon for Southern AG might prove a little less expensive and accurate. Greendoctor's mind is amazing in dealing with these situations for accuracy.

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