Hose end sprayers are convenient tools that any gardener should consider buying. If you’ve been thinking about getting one but aren’t sure if you need one, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use a hose-end sprayer.
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What is a Hose-end Sprayer?
Hose end sprayers are a simple and convenient way to mix weed killers and fertilizers and apply them with ease. The sprayer pulls the liquid treatment out of the container and mixes it with water as it travels through the nozzle.
There are three types of hose-end sprayers to be familiar with: fixed-rate, adjustable-flow, and ready-to-use.
Fixed-rate sprayers do just what their name implies. They siphon the liquid from the container and through the nozzle at a fixed rate. With this type of sprayer, you mix the proper concentration beforehand and add it to the container to ensure the proper distribution rate.
2. Adjustable Flow
Adjustable-flow sprayers have a dial that allows you to set the rate with which the liquid comes out of the container. You can apply different concentrations without worrying about mixing anything beforehand.
3. Ready to Use
Ready-to-use hose-end sprayers are available from some fertilizer or pest spray companies. They contain the brand’s liquid formula and are usually pre-set to attach to a regular garden hose and spray at a pre-set rate. These sprayers are single-use and should only be used with the included product.
Although these types are very similar, there are some slight differences in how you use them. We’ll cover adjustable flow first because, although it’s not complicated, it’s the most complex of the three.
How to Use an Adjustable Flow Hose-End Sprayer
Before you use any type of chemical spray or hose-end sprayer, put on rubber gloves and eye protection.
The next step is to add the concentrated liquid to the bottle attached to the sprayer. It usually unscrews pretty easily. Then, add an undiluted concentrated to the bottle. Follow the directions to figure out how much you need to use to cover the area you want to treat.
Most sprayer bottles have markings on the side so you can fill them in the correct volume. You may also use a measuring cup if you want to be as precise as possible. If you have a small area to cover, you may prefer to use a measuring spoon. After you add the right amount of concentrate, screw the bottle back into place.
Next, adjust the dial. Again, the application rate should be noted on the side of the bottle of the concentrate you’re using. The location of the dial may vary from one sprayer to the next, but they’re usually pretty simple to use.
On most models, all you have to do is turn the dial so that the indicator points to the number of gallons you want to spray.
Next, connect your garden hose to the sprayer, making sure the faucet is off. Make sure it is tightened securely, then turn it on to about ¾ of the maximum pressure. Turn the nozzle tip to adjust from a mist to a spray to ensure you get even coverage.
As you walk around your yard or garden, engage the handle of your sprayer and apply where needed. It’s best to walk in a set pattern so you’re sure that you cover everything. If you’re using more of the concentrate than you expected, use less pressure or turn down the pressure from the water spigot.
When you’re done, empty any leftover concentrate back into the bottle, then fill the sprayer with water. Turn the dial to the highest setting and spray water through the hose until the bottle is empty. This rinses both the bottle and the spray head.
How to Use a Fixed-Rate Hose-End Sprayer
Using a fixed-rate hose-end sprayer is almost the same as using an adjustable-rate sprayer, but there are a few key differences.
Since you cannot control the flow of the liquid leaving the sprayer bottle, you have to premix it before adding it. The best way to do so is to read the instructions on the label of the product you’re using.
Add the correct amount of water and product to the bottle. Then, attach it to the nozzle and shake well.
If you haven’t already, attach the sprayer to the hose and turn the water on, but not all the way. Open the sprayer valve so that the water begins to come out of the nozzle. Again, walk evenly around the area while holding the sprayed to ensure that you get good, even coverage.
When you’re done, close the valve, remove the bottle, and discard any leftover solution. Because you have already mixed the concentrate in the bottle with water, you cannot save or reuse it.
Fill the bottle with water then turn on the hose and the sprayer to clean out any residue from the bottle and the nozzle.
How to Use a Ready-to-Use Sprayer
Ready-to-use sprayers are all a little different, so make sure you read the directions carefully. Generally, though, they follow the same process.
Most have a simple switch or knob to open the flow. You may need to add the product to the bottle or it will already be inside. Adjust the knob to the mix setting and turn on the hose. Again, walk at an even pace to make sure everything is covered.
Check to see how much product is left in the bottle and, if needed, you can do a second application to make sure you use the entire recommended amount.
How Do You Know How Much is Coming Out of a Hose-End Sprayer?
Ready-to-use sprayers are pre-calibrated and should come out of the sprayer at the correct rate. And, as the name suggests, fixed-rate sprayers have a set rate, so you don’t have to worry about making any changes to the sprayer itself.
That said, if you have made your way around your lawn or garden and you didn’t use as much fertilizer or spray as you were supposed to, you have to make adjustments to your application technique.
Since you can’t change the rate at which the solution is leaving the sprayer, you have to try other things. You can turn up the water pressure from the hose if you have a lot leftover in the bottle when you’ve covered the entire area.
Another method is to walk slower or faster, depending on whether you need to use more or less of the solution.
As for adjustable sprayers, the water from the hose dilutes the concentration, so you can make adjustments to determine how much of it is actually coming out of the sprayer.
Most hose-end sprayers use simple dials to control the application rate. The dial should be marked from 1 to 10 and will indicate if it is calibrated in ounces or teaspoons.
After you read the label of the product you’re using and determine how much you need and the proper concentration, adjust the knob to the correct number. For example, if the knob is in ounces and you are to add three ounces of concentrate, turn the dial to 3.
If you need to convert from ounces to teaspoons or vice versa, don’t worry, it’s easy to do. One ounce equals 6 teaspoons. So, in the previous example, if you are asked to add 18 teaspoons, since this is the same as 3 ounces, you would adjust the dial to 3.
As you can see, hose-end sprayers aren’t particularly difficult to use, but they do take a little bit of practice. Choose the option that works best for your needs then get started using this time-saving and convenient tool.