Sprayer Tips

A garden sprayer is an extremely useful tool. Learn to maintain your sprayer properly to avoid problems during operation. Keep the sprayer clean and avoid contact with chemicals. Give your sprayer a thorough check before the first use each spring to make sure it is in good working order, and check it periodically throughout the season.

Test Sprayer

Check the sprayer before use. Fill the tank 2/3 full of clear water. Test the pump by using it to pressurize the tank. Check the hose and wand for leaks at each connection point. Adjust the nozzle and test spray. Clean the nozzle if the spray pattern is not correct. Clean the nozzle screen if there is one. Keep your sprayer leak free. Leaks allow the tank to depressurize too quickly. Leaks also permit chemicals to drip where they are not intended to be.

"O" Rings in the Pump

Check the "O" rings at the beginning of each spring and whenever the pump does not give good pressure. Disassemble the pump and replace all "O" rings, grease the new "O" rings and reassemble the pump. Test the sprayer with clear water before filling the tank with chemicals. Faulty "O" rings cause leaks and pressurization problems. Chemicals may escape through the pump and onto your skin if the pump is operated with faulty rings.

Hose, Wand and Nozzle

Good control of the spray is key for proper application. The hose, wand and nozzle should operate smoothly with the proper flow of liquid. Examine the hose and wand for leaks or bends. Replace if necessary. Test the nozzle with clear water, and set the correct spray pattern for the job you will be doing. Use a fine mist for most wetting applications of garden insecticides and foliar feeds. Use an extension wand to reach high places and for easy spraying under shrubs and plants. Keep the nozzle clean. Drips from a clogged nozzle may overdose a plant or put a chemical where it is not wanted.

Clean the Sprayer

Clean the sprayer after every use to remove chemicals. Fill the sprayer with water and insecticidal soap, or use dish detergent and water. Swish the liquid inside the tank. Pressurize the tank and release the liquid through the nozzle to clean the hose and wand. Disassemble the nozzle to clean the parts. Rinse the sprayer. Never re-use a sprayer on any food crops if it has contained toxic poisons, even after cleaning it. Have a separate sprayer for food crops.

Do Not Overfill

The sprayer tank must have a cushion of air in order to pressurize correctly. Fill the tank to no more than 3/4 full, or to the "fill" line if one is indicated. This will allow enough air for sufficient compression.

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About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.