Monday, July 25, 2011

More Spray Tips and Sprayer Maintenance

Last week’s article about me using blue spray dye as an indicator of where I had sprayed (if you missed the article, you can access by going to under the Horticulture Hotline section), resulted in several phone calls to me from various people. The basic conversation centered around the fact that they hated using the dye because it got all over their pants (legs if they were wearing shorts), socks, shoes, and hands if they were adjusting their spray nozzle tip.

For some reason I do not think that getting the dye on themselves was equating to getting chemical on their person or clothing. After a little ”splaining” (Ricky Ricardo, or if you are younger, George Lopez lingo), I believe the light bulb came on that the dye was part of the chemical solution and it was good to know where the solution was going. If you are wearing shorts on a windy day, and your ankles and socks are blue, you might want to rinse them off.

The dye alone can get on you while you are mixing, or in some cases it seems like just walking by a sealed container. The dye is extremely concentrated. If you try to rinse off a driveway that you have spilled some on, plan to be there a while. A quart of pond dye (similar dye just more concentrated) that we sell will turn a whole acre of water several feet deep a dark blue.

Sunlight breaks down the dye over a short period of time (photo degrades) and water rinses it off. In some cases, it is good to know where you have sprayed, and in other situations, it might be better not to know.

When I finish spraying anything from SeaHume to Messenger or a Roundup type product, I always rinse the sprayer with clean water and run water through the trigger part and out the end of the wand. I add a little Possum’s Tank Cleaner and triple rinse it again being sure to run water through the trigger assembly and wand. I then add clean water and run it through the trigger assembly and leave the sprayer with clean water throughout it.

I have never read a manufacturer’s directions on storing your sprayer “wet” like this; however, I have two sprayers that are turning 20 years old this year and I have never replaced a seal, gasket, or O-ring and they do not leak. My theory is if you store them dry the seals, gaskets, and O-rings dry out and the sprayer starts to leak.