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Yard Sprayers and Spreaders

Sprayers and spreaders are useful additions to your garden tool kit. A sprayer allows you to apply even layers of herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, while spreaders allow you to quickly and easily reseed or fertilize large areas. Here are a few tips to help you select the right sprayer or spreader for your lawn care and garden tasks.

What type of garden sprayer should I buy?

First things first, decide what size you’ll need. Sprayer sizes range from 4 gallons all the way down to 1 quart, so it’s easy to find one large enough — or small enough — for the job. Next, check out the following common sprayer styles and select one that’s best suited for your task.
• Hose-end: These are simple to use and typically your cheapest option. The garden sprayer is attached to your hose, which forces water through the small tank to mix and dilute the chemicals inside. This style also features an anti-siphon device, so you won’t have to worry about chemicals backtracking through your hose and into your water supply.
• Tank: These feature a tall, cylindrical tank topped with a plunger, which can be pumped to pressurize the air inside. A wand is used to distribute the liquid inside, which is perfect for precise application and reaching into nooks and crannies.
• Backpack: A backpack sprayer is similar to the tank style, but instead of resting on the ground the tank can easily be carried on one’s back. This makes it suitable for transporting large amounts of spray material. A lever on the side allows it to be pressurized without having to set it down.

Are there any safety precautions I should know about when using my sprayer?

As with any tool, you’ll want to read and follow the instructions provided. Also pay attention to the instructions that come with the chemical you intend to spray; make sure it can be used in a garden sprayer and note any additional precautions or mixing instructions.

Avoid spraying chemicals in your garden on a windy day and be sure to always wear protective gear including gloves and goggles. Never eat, drink or smoke while spraying and always be sure to thoroughly wash up afterward.

What kind of fertilizer spreader should I buy?

Spreaders come in two styles: broadcast and drop. Which one is best for you depends on how you plan to use it. You can also find push spreaders or even larger styles that can be attached to a tractor or ATV.
• Drop: A drop spreader gives you more control over your coverage, but won’t cover large areas quite as fast as a broadcast style. Pay careful attention to the amount of seeds or fertilizer being dispensed; it can be easy to create stripes of heavily or lightly covered areas if you skip a row or go over it more than once.
• Broadcast: A broadcast spreader allows you to cover large areas quickly and easily. Your seeds or fertilizer are fed down through a hopper and onto a spinning disc, which tosses the material across your lawn or garden. You should be sure to overlap your path to ensure even coverage. Don’t forget to check your settings and calibration, as well, so you aren’t accidentally tossing seeds into your neighbors yard or an area you don’t intend to reseed.

Are there any tips I can follow to make using my seed spreader easier?

Be sure to read through the instructions that come with your spreader before you use it. These should include a distribution pattern that you should follow as well as calibration instructions. Your fertilizer or grass seed packaging may also include instructions on how to optimally calibrate your spreader.

If you pause for a break or to adjust your settings, be sure to close the hopper so no excess seed or fertilizer is dispensed. It’s important to clean out your spreader when you’re finished, and oiling the metal parts can help prevent rust. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing while you work.
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