Welcome Guest
Shop
Based on your location, we believe this is the store closest to you. If you would like to change to a different store, please click here.
X  Close
Free Shipping Offers from Tractor Supply Co.
Share |

How to Fertilize and Protect Crops Using Garden Sprayers

Beautiful lawn and garden with white house in the country

Weeds that establish themselves and compete for available sunlight, water and nutrients are one of the biggest threats to the health and appearance of your lawn, garden, pastures or field crops. Tractor Supply offers a variety of sprayer and chemical combinations that can control and remove weeds and brush while helping desirable plants thrive.

Weed Control

There are primarily two types of weeds: grassy weeds, such as crabgrass and foxtail, and broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions, ground ivy, and chickweed. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to remove brush or woody plants.

Deciding which lawn and garden sprayer and weed control products to use can be a difficult process. The answers to the following questions will help you and a Tractor Supply Team Member develop a solution to your weed control or pest control:

  • What level of weed control are you trying to achieve? The choice of weed control chemical will depend on what you want to control, such as all vegetation, just weeds and/or brush, and what types of brush.
     
  • What weather conditions do you anticipate during application of weed or pest control chemicals? Heavy rain can wash away freshly-applied chemicals.
     
  • Do you have animals grazing near the areas you want to apply the chemicals? Some chemicals are safe to spray around pets or livestock while others require you to remove grazing animals from pastures for a period of time. Always check the label carefully to see whether a chemical is recommended for use around animals. Work with a team member at your local Tractor Supply Co. store to figure out how to proceed. If you still have questions about applying pest control or weed control chemicals to crops on a farm with animals, consult your veterinarian.
  • Do you plan to fertilize, and how soon will you re-seed? You may want to apply a “weed and feed” mixture of fertilizer and weed killer simultaneously. If you want to know how to kill all plants for a season, Tractor Supply Co. carries chemicals that will achieve this as well.
  • Where do you want to use the chemical? In a ditch or a pasture? On crop land? In areas with thick brush?
  • How well-established are the weeds compared to the desirable lawn or pasture? If there are small patches of weeds among well-established desirable growth, a spot application will work. For more severe problems, you may need a broad application to reestablish the appropriate balance.
  • How many acres do you want to spray? This will determine how much chemical you need and what type of sprayer is best.
  • Are you planning to use a lawnmower, tractor or ATV for spraying? This will determine the type of sprayer you need.

How to Choose the Right Agriculture Chemicals

Always follow the instructions on the label when using weed control chemicals. Failure to do so may lead to poor weed control, damage to your surroundings or illness or injury to livestock and humans.

Once you know more about your job, you will need to make several basic decisions about the chemicals you will use:

  • Should you use water- or oil-based weed control or pest control chemicals?
  • Do you need to kill brush?
  • Should you use a total vegetation killer?

How to Choose Between Oil-based and Water-based Products

While you may notice results faster with oil-based weed control products than with water-based weed control products, there are certain limitations on their use. For example, you should not use oil-based products with fertilizers. In most applications, water-based products mix well with water-soluble fertilizers. Always check the label for indicated usage.

How to Choose a Brush Killer

There are several products available at Tractor Supply Co. to kill brush. Hi-Dep and Pasture Pro are labeled for use around grazing animals. Brush Killer and Cleanout are not approved for use in pastures where animals are present. Brush Killer is a water-based formula that is appropriate for less aggressive weeds and for more economical applications. Cleanout is an oil-based product that is effective on difficult-to-control brush. Cleanout is also a low-odor formulation.

Using a Vegetation Killer

Use a total vegetation killer to eliminate weeds, grasses, and brush along fence rows, driveways, sidewalks and patios. Because this type of product kills all growth, you should not use a total vegetation killer around any desirable plants. When choosing a total vegetation killer, determine beforehand how soon you want to reseed. Some products (such as Pronto Big N’ Tuf or Roundup) kill weeds and grasses but allow for reseeding and replanting in two weeks. Vegetation Killer, Vegetation Killer Granules or Pramitol make soil sterile. They kill weeds and grasses and form a barrier to keep plants from regrowing for one full season.

For control of broadleaf weeds in and around homes, barns, etc., Trimec has been recommended by professionals for over 30 years. Trimec Lawn Weed Killer controls dandelions, clover, purge, and more without harming lawn grasses. Trimec 899 is a more concentrated formula that is appropriate for use by small-scale groundskeepers and landscapers.

Weed Control Product Type Uses Do Not Use
Oil-based weed killers, such as LV 400 2, 4-D Broadleaf weeds, woody plants, brush
  • Above 80°-85°
  • With fertilizer
Water-based weed killers, such as Amine 400 2, 4-D Broadleaf weeds, mixing with fertilizer
  • With extremely hard water
  • For brush or plants with milky sap
Total vegetation killers, such as Pronto Big N’Tuf, Roundup, Vegetation Killer, Pramitol or Weed Blast 4G Wherever no vegetation is desired. Controls all weeds and vegetation including grass, weeds, brush, and plants
  • Where any desirable vegetation, plants or grass exist
Brush killer, such as Cleanout, Hi-Dep, Pasture Pro, Remedy Herbicide or Crossbow Controls undesirable brush, woody plants, and weeds
  • Brush Killer and Cleanout in pastures when animals are present

Mixing Agriculture Chemicals

Read and follow all directions and precautions on the label of each product when mixing and applying lawn and garden chemicals. Take all precautions, such as wearing gloves, coveralls and eye protection, specified on the chemical labels. Note: This information is not intended to replace the product labels. Always refer to the labels before use.

How to Select the Right Lawn and Garden Sprayer

Tractor Supply Co. offers several types of lawn and garden sprayers for low-volume applications. When purchasing a sprayer, the main factors you will need to examine are the size and specifications of the job at hand and the type of vehicle you will be using to transport or tow the sprayer.

Small-Scale Jobs

Spot sprayers are mostly used for smaller-scale, targeted spraying around lawns and gardens. Typically you would use a hand wand or gun to spray the solution on or around flowers, bushes, etc. You usually do not have to perform detailed calibration adjustments to determine the rate of application. Tank capacity is usually between 15 and 50 gallons. Some spot sprayers can be adapted to spray booms and trailers.

Tractor Sprayers

Several 3-pt. sprayer models are available that can be connected to the 3-pt. hitch of a tractor. Handgun kits are also available. Both traditional boom versions and a cluster nozzle version are available.

Pickup Truck Utility Trailers

The tanks of skid sprayers range in size from 55 to 200 gallons. Typically, the skid sprayer resides in the bed of a pickup truck or utility trailer. Most of these sprayers are used for handgun spraying, but wheel kits and spray boom options are available for some models.

Pull-behind or trailer sprayers range in size from 15 to 60 gallons. Most of the trailer sprayers have spray booms as standard equipment, and handgun options available. The size of the spray boom varies according to the number of nozzles and the desired spray coverage.

ATV Sprayers

These chemical lawn sprayers attach to the rear-mounted tubular rack of your all-terrain vehicle (ATV). These sprayer booms are ideal for getting into areas where field access is a problem.

The Parts of a Lawn and Garden Sprayer

The typical sprayer assembly consists of the following parts:

  • Holding tank that contains the chemical solution
  • Roller pump or diaphragm pump to agitate and pressurize the contents of the tank
  • Pressure relief valve and gauges to regulate the spraying pressure
  • Hoses, spray nozzles and tips.
  • A variety of accessories, such as hand wands and booms are also available.

The pump contains rollers or diaphragms inside the pump housing to force the spray solution through the outlet valve to the nozzle tip. Some sprayer assemblies have different pump options, such as 12-volt motor driven pumps and gas engine driven pumps (which usually have a larger volume output).

You can use the pressure gauge to set the desired pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). This is a crucial step in determining the rate of application. In general, low spray pressures improve coverage and reduce drift. Many pressure relief valves will have an automatic bypass for when the pressure climbs too high. The extra chemical will be delivered back to the sprayer tank. Refer to your sprayer’s manual for instruction on how to calibrate your sprayer.

You can extend the reach of your sprayer using booms of varying length. Likewise, you can use hand wands and other specialized tools for closely targeted spraying. Consult your local Tractor Supply Co. store for more information.

Sprayer Maintenance and Cleanup

Storing Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Generally, you should store weed killers and other hazardous chemicals in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, sparks or flame. Do not allow the chemicals to freeze. Keep chemicals out of reach of children and animals. Keep them in their original containers with the original labels intact so you can refer to the labels if needed. Consult the label of each chemical for more detailed storage information.

Disposing of Chemicals

The safest way to dispose of weed killers and other chemicals is to use up the entire product. To avoid contamination or volatile reactions, do not reuse the original chemical container packaging. Consult the label of each chemical for more detailed disposal information.

How to Clean Up Lawn and Garden Chemicals

If you spill lawn and garden chemicals, consult the label for clean-up instructions.

How to Clean a Lawn and Garden Sprayer

Clean your lawn and garden sprayer after each use. Cleaning your sprayer prolongs its life by preventing damage to sprayer parts. Cleaning up after each use also reduces the risk of cross-contamination of pesticides. Follow these steps when cleaning your lawn and garden sprayer:

  1. Wear gloves, overalls, and eye protection, as specified on the chemical labels.
  2. Flush the sprayer with clean water.
  3. Add a tank cleaner (such as Nutral-Sol) solution to the tank. Run the pump long enough to ensure the entire system is being cleaned. Check the labels of the chemicals for recommended cleaning solutions and specific instructions on how to mix them.
  4. Remove the spray tips and screens. Clean them with detergent solution and dry them. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendation for how to store metal tips and screens.
  5. Flush the system again with clean water. You may want to add light-weight oil to the final flushing to form a protective coating throughout the entire system. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  6. Drain the pump and line completely. Leave any line valves open.
  7. Remove the hoses and any handgun assemblies. Coil the hoses around a reel or a large round object. Do not hang them on any object that will cause a permanent crease or tear.
  8. Clean the outside of the entire sprayer according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

How to Winterize a Lawn and Garden Sprayer

Preparing your sprayer for the inactivity and cold of winter months prolongs its life. If possible, store the sprayer inside during the winter. If this is not possible, use a cover, such as a tarp or a shed-in-a-box over the sprayer.

Clean the sprayer as described above. Then use the following table to winterize your lawn and garden sprayer:

Hoses and Sprayer Parts Step
Pump roller Fill pump with 50/50 automotive antifreeze and plug openings.
Gas engine Drain and refill with oil. (Beforehand, be sure to allow engine and pump to run until oil is at normal operating temperature.)
Oil filter Replace during oil change.
Air cleaner Service according to the manufacturer’s service guide.
12-volt diaphragm pump Fill pump with RV antifreeze.

Q and A: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Lawn and Garden Chemicals and Sprayers

  • Q. When is the best time to apply a weed control product?
  • A. The best weed control is obtained when weeds are young and actively growing. The ideal time to apply a weed control product is on a warm day after a few days of rainfall or watering, and when there is little or no wind to cause spray to drift. If there are numerous weeds, a broad application covering the entire area may be necessary to get them under control. If a dense, healthy lawn or crop is already established, spot-treatment of individual weeds or patches of weeds may be sufficient.
  • Q. How much product do I need to buy to treat my area?
  • A. You should refer to the product labels for specific instructions. Keep in mind that you need to calibrate your sprayer to be sure how much product you are actually putting down.
  • Q. Do I need to use a spreader-sticker or surfactant?
  • A. Many products already contain a surfactant. An additional spreader-sticker (available in the lawn and garden section) will increase effectiveness in many cases. However, some products are not recommended for use with surfactants or spreader-stickers. Consult the label on the chemical you are using.
  • Q. What is the difference between Amine 400 2, 4-D and LV 400 2, 4-D?
  • A. LV-400 is an oil-based weed killer with fast visual activity. It is excellent in times of cool conditions and drought, for woody plants such as brush, or plants with milky sap, and if very hard water conditions exist. It becomes rain fast in one hour. Apply only when air temperature is below 80 to 85 degrees F. Amine 400 2, 4-D is water based. Use it instead of LV 400 when temperatures exceed 80 to 85 degrees F, particularly near sensitive areas like flowers, shrubs, saplings, and trees. It is the preferred product for general broadleaf weed control, though both are broadleaf weed killers.
  • Q. Will 2, 4-D kill my grass?
  • A. Neither the water- nor oil-based version of this chemical should kill your grass under normal conditions. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Lawn and Garden Sprayer Troubleshooting Guide

Sprayer Issue / Problem Description Possible Causes Possible Solutions
  • There is no spray coming out of the sprayer.
  • The sprayer filter could be clogged.
  • There is no vacuum.
  • There is no spray coming through the boom.
  • Check and tighten clamps as necessary.
  • Check and tighten clamps as necessary.
  • Check the “Y” valve or pressure regulator.
  • There is too much sprayer pressure build-up.
  • The regulator bypass could be working incorrectly.
  • Re-adjust pressure regulator. Replace if necessary.

Other Supplies You May Need While Using a Lawn and Garden or Ag Sprayer

  • Sprayer hose (EPDM and EVA)
  • Sprayer tips and screens
  • Poly fittings and sprayer nozzles
  • Roller sprayer pumps and couplers
  • 12-volt diaphragm pump
  • Replacement sprayer tanks
  • Chemical storage tanks
  • Protective gear, such as safety goggles, gloves and reflective / protective clothing