Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Use a Garden Sprayer

Any serious or novice gardener will tell you that having a garden sprayer on hand is a necessary tool to gardening. They make applying products such as pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides mess-free and quick. Whether you require a small-capacity garden sprayer, or one that holds 2 gallons, there is a sprayer to meet your requirements. Pump-up or tank sprayers are very popular with gardeners. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. They can also treat small to very large areas of space. Once you use one, you will wonder how you lived without the garden sprayer before.

Twist off the top of the sprayer connected to the tank. Place the top on the ground, out of the way while you fill the sprayer.

Read the directions on the product you will be using. Check to see if it states not to use in a garden sprayer. If the label does not mention garden sprayers, it will be safe to use your product inside of it.

Follow the label’s directions and pour the specified amount of your product into the sprayer tank. Fill the container no more than two-thirds full of water. Allow space between the water level and the top of the tank. Pressure cannot build up inside the tank if it is full.

Screw the top of the sprayer back on the tank. Twist the handle counterclockwise to unlock it. Pump the handle up and down until it becomes hard to push back down. Push the handle down and twist it clockwise to lock it back in place.

Rotate the tip of the nozzle to adjust the spray path. The sprayer will spray a fine mist to a thin, steady stream. Adjust as needed.

Test the spray path on a nonvegetative surface such as a concrete driveway, before spraying on plants or grass. Adjust the nozzle tip as necessary.

Spray the plants or grass, being sure to cover the entire surface with your product. If you are treating a disease, be sure to spray the underside of all the foliage.

Pour out any leftover product into an area it will not do harm. For example, you can pour leftover fertilizer directly on plants.

Wash out the sprayer’s tank, wand and tubing with clean water. Fill the tank with a small amount of clean water, pump up the sprayer and spray out the water to clean the hose, nozzle and tip. Store the garden sprayer with the pressure released.


Do not store a garden sprayer for long periods with the product left inside of it. The product can eat away at the working parts and the sprayer may not work.

Use a sprayer designated for herbicides and one for pesticides or fertilizers, if you are regularly applying them to the garden.

Garden Guides