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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Sprayers and spraying

Garden spraying tips

Gardeners and horticulturists can at times take things for granted as we are often doing certain chores and don’t stop to realise that what we do and why we do it, is not common knowledge with everyone that gardens or are attempting to garden.

One of these is spraying plants for whatever reason we spray; whether it be for pest control, disease control, weed control or other reasons.

Lets start off with sprayers of which there are many types and I have four types that I use for different reasons and times.

Firstly I have a Back Pack sprayer which is hand pumped and holds about 16 litres of spray.

This one is only used for weed killing and the compound I use in it is Ammonium sulphamate that I dissolve into water at the rate of 200 grams per litre of water.

I add to this Raingard at the rate of 1mil per litre of water.

The best time to spray weeds is on a nice sunny day in full sun light and ideally when the soil is on the dry side.

If you are using any other non chemical weed killers then a sunny day with dry soil is a must for success.

If you are using chemical herbicides such as Roundup you should add Raingard to the spray as it will increase the effectiveness of the herbicide by 50% and apply it also ideally on a sunny day and drier soil.

The reason is that when soil is dry plants are moisture seeking and will take the spray more readily into their foliage.

The sprayer that you use for weed killers should be clearly written on ‘WEED KILLERS ONLY’

Failure to do this will often lead to tragic loses in your gardens.

I have had many instances when someone else has used a sprayer that had been used to kill weeds and used the sprayer on plants for insect problems. (It works, you kill the plants and the insects disappear, not so nice for your cherished plants)

This is particularly so with chemical herbicides such as Roundup because rinsing the sprayer out after use will not remove all the chemical as they impregnate into the plastic and if you were to use the same sprayer with say an insecticide in it and spray roses, tomatoes, beans and various other plants, it will cause herbicide damage to the foliage and in some cases kill the plants.

If you have small weed killing jobs to do then what ever you are going to use, put it into a Trigger Sprayer that you mark ‘WEED KILLERS ONLY’

I actually have several 1 litre Trigger Sprayers that I use for different applications and as I do not use Raingard in the Trigger Sprayers I can store what spray has not been used in a shed out of direct sun light for future use.

If Raingard or VaporGard has been used in a sprayer then any spray not used should be either discarded or put into a container for future use so that you can wash out the sprayer immediately and run some clean water though it to make sure filters and jets are cleared of any residue.

So discard the contents, part fill with clean water and give a good shake.

Tip this water out and again part fill the sprayer with clean water and open the nozzle of the sprayer to make a jet and jet spray some of the water through the nozzle.

This will help ensure that the sprayer will be ready for use next time you want to use it.

Failure to do some often means time wasted as you try to clean residues from the sprayer so it will work.

Many products that have been diluted with water will keep for a time if stored out of sunlight, they may slump which means they fall to the bottom and there is more water above the product. A good shake normally remixes the product with the water.

Sometimes I will add a little more of the product to the sprayer and also more water as to label instructions to top up the sprayer and overcome any possibility of the product deterioration while stored.

Besides the Back Pack Sprayer and several trigger spray bottles I also have two other pump up sprayers for spraying.

One is a 2 litre pump up sprayer the other is a 5 litre sit on the ground pump up sprayer.

Those are for the jobs that are bigger than what a Trigger sprayer would be used for and yet not enough to use the pack pack size.

Most spraying of any product except weed killers should be done at the end of the day when the sun is going down towards dusk and direct sunlight off the plant’s foliage.

This is particularly important if using any oil products such as Wallys Neem Tree Oil.

Also if using Super Pyrethrum on its own or with the Neem Oil as pyrethrum has a short life when exposed to UV which is in fact about two hours.

Also pyrethrum can affect honey bees and by dusk most of them should be back home in their hives.

Next morning when the sun comes up the Pyrethrum will be gone within a couple of hours.

Now here is a very important point which many do not realise when spraying chemical herbicides.

NEVER spray on a still calm day. Many people think that is the best time to spray when in fact it is the worst.

I learnt that when I obtained my Chemical Handlers certificate years ago and here is the reason why;

When it is calm tiny spray droplets are lifted up in to the air from conventional air currents (warm air rises) and these deadly droplets rise up and will at sometime drop onto what ever is below, your place? Down the road? Who knows but very damaging to what ever plant they land on.

The ideal time to spray is when there is a nice mild breeze, this will force the spray droplets down onto the target weeds.

Another good idea if your sprayer has a wand you can make a spray shield out of a two litre plastic ice cream container.

In the centre of the container make a hole that is big enough to fit over your wand when the nozzle is removed.

Place the end of the wand through the hole and put the nozzle back on.

You place this over the weeds you want to spray and pull the trigger. All the spray will stay inside the ice cream container.

So even on a windy day or calm day you can spray your weed killers safely.

Image: Michael Heinrich

Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz

Problems ring me at: Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at www.sharpei.co.nz
Mail Order products at www.0800466464.co.nz

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