Essential Products: Concentrates & Sprayer

Essential Products: Concentrates & Sprayer

When most people think of garden tools, it’s likely that they imagine shovels, rakes, pruners or hoes, which are all useful tools. They may not picture a tank sprayer, sometimes called a pump sprayer, right away, but I’m here to tell you why this tool might be a piece of “must have” equipment. Here’s the reason: a pump sprayer (pictured below) allows you to buy your garden products in concentrated form. Whether you’re using an organic fungicide, insecticide or other product, you’ll probably have a choice between a concentrate or bottles that have hose-end attachments or hand-pumps already on them. Those with the spraying equipment attached might seem desirable because they are convenient, but the concentrates not only cost less, when you compare the gallon to gallon finished product, but they put less plastic into the garbage/recycle cans.

Yes, the traditional line-up of hoes, shovels and rakes are necessary garden tools. But I’d suggest that a pump sprayer is not only helpful, it’s economical and assists us in our efforts not to add so much plastic to the waste/recycle stream.

Concentrated products need to be mixed with water, so that small bottle of Captain Jack’s or Copper Fungicide will make many, many more gallons of spray than the ready-to-apply or hose-end sprayers. So when you compare the amount you can create with a concentrate with the amount in the ready-to-use bottles, you’ll see that the concentrate is ultimately less expensive.

Here are three products that are always on my garden shed shelves, along with a small plastic Chapin sprayer.

When I first started gardening, tank sprayers were metal, heavy and all were quite large. This made them harder to use, so many people avoided them. Now these sprayers are light-weight and come in a 1 gallon size like the one you see here. Even when these are filled, they aren’t overly heavy.

In addition to being less expensive and adding less plastic to the waste stream, tank sprayers allow you to direct the spray underneath leaves as well as to the top of your plants. This is especially helpful when spraying Captain Jack’s for things like the rose-slug budworm or hibiscus sawfly larvae, that live and feed underneath the leaves.

We carry garden products and tools from area to area, either in a wheelbarrow or in a bucket. One of the most common tools in those carriers is the pump sprayer.

Do you know anyone who has sprayed their plants, assuming that they’re applying a fungicide or insecticide, only to discover when those plants die that they’ve used some leftover weedkiller instead. If you use pesticides and herbicides, you might want to have two sprayers on hand. I use a couple of the organic herbicides for the weeds on my patio and I have a dedicated sprayer for those weed killers. I’ve written “HERBICIDE!!!” on the sprayer with a magic marker. This prevents any contamination of weed killer in my organic insecticides and fungicides and there is no chance of mixups.

One final sprayer tip: First, try to mix up only what products you’ll use in one day. This allows you to rinse the sprayer after you use it so that it doesn’t get clogged.

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