You’ve bought your new spray equipment, now what? You’ve got to properly know how to use it to get business and ultimately money in your pocket. Using too little chemical can result in weeds and loss of business, which means money, and using too much can waste product, time and more money.
There are several factors that go into correct spray use: Calibrating and testing the equipment, training employees on proper technique, and proper chemical amount and application.
Calibrating and testing equipment:
For starters, you want to figure out how much water you want to spray per minute per 1,000 feet.
- A rule of thumb is 3 gallons/minute per 1,000 square feet of lawn
- Then calibrate the equipment that you will use: spray nozzles, hoses, pressure gauge, etc…
- Make sure you have the proper nozzle tip to release the desired water flow. There are different types of nozzles that release water slower or faster (depending on the size and pattern of the nozzle holes). Some manufacturers also indicate flow rate right on the nozzle.
- Test the amount of water flow in a bucket (create your own pre-marked bucket or purchase one). Make sure you can fill the bucket to 3 gallons within 60 seconds.
- Note the time it takes for the bucket to fill up. If it’s more than your designated rate, reduce the gauge pressure. Increase or decrease pressure depending on the output of your sprayer until you achieve your target water flow rate. You want to ensure proper pressure otherwise it can result in blown hoses, worn equipment, and worst of all, burnt lawns by over applying product.
Having a great lawn starts with knowing how to spray using the equipment AND having experienced and trained technicians to do the applications. This includes timing and technique.
- Train your techs to cover the required square footage in the time allotted to cover the lawn with chemical. In this case, make sure your tech can walk 1,000 square feet (a 10 feet by 100 foot area) in a minute while also spraying 3 gallons of water/chemical solution on the lawn.
- Note that walking faster to get it done is not going to achieve the results you’re after if your equipment is set up to spray at a certain rate. You want to spray the lawn in a timely manner to achieve even coverage of chemical on the lawn. Too fast and some areas may not receive the adequate chemical amount for the job. Going too slow may oversaturate and kill the lawn. The gun should be held upright to ensure the proper spraying rate. Holding the gun down can double or quadruple the rate per thousand square feet. You want to pace yourself.
- Follow the label on the chemical; it should give recommended dosage amounts based on ounces per thousand square feet of lawn that will be covered.
- If you’re spraying a material on a non-label target, you can be fined. If it’s not on the label – it’s like medicine – the label is the law. On that label, it will tell you what target items it kills.
- Do not lower the recommended amount of product or feel like you’re diluting it if you add more water. If you lower the amount therefore increasing the concentration of chemical, you risk having your “burn” rate go up. This could increase the chances of a problem with the lawn after service.
All in all, in order to have a successful business in lawn care, make sure you know how to properly spray the turf and have knowledgeable technicians. These tips alone can ensure that you meet customer expectations, have more satisfied customers and in the end, greater profits in no time.