By DoMyOwn staff
Having the right equipment can make all the difference in DIY lawn care. In this episode, Paul explains what equipment you need to have to be able to repair your lawn yourself and restore it to full health. He will also show you how to use it!
Winter is creeping out which means spring is around the corner, which means our first pre-emergent application is coming up. According to the calendar, we're still in the middle winter but you can't really tell, because it's seventy-two degrees today and I'm wearing shorts. From a technical standpoint, here's what I should have done, going into fall I should have put down an application of pre-emergents. But I missed that boat, maybe you did too and that's okay we'll just have to work a little bit harder in the spring and summer to keep our lawn beautiful and green.
Before I make my first pre-emergent application, I wanted to go over one important topic; equipment. Spreader and Sprayer, the two most important pieces of equipment you need to take care of your yard. There's a few other things you're going to need but let's talk about these. First up sprayer, just a quick note, we're not getting paid nor endorsed by Chapin to promote their products. It just so happens to be the ones that I like, they are a very good price point for your average homeowner. So that's what I go with.
Okay, on to this - The backpack sprayer I'm using is the Chapin pro commercial backpack sprayer. It's four gallons or 15.1 liters. The reason I'm going to go with the four gallon backpack, I want to get a really good even coverage. If I'm using my one-gallon hand cannon right here, stopping and starting, having to refill mix up another gallon. I risk not getting a really good even coverage, having to leave the area I'm spraying to go mix up, come back, spray again.
With this one, I only have to fill it up essentially twice to cover my 6,400 square feet. It is a manual pump, there are other ones out there that are battery operated that you just flip a switch and it'll pump it up for you. This one, however, I have to manually pump it which I'm okay with that, it is built onto a steel frame so it's going to be nice and durable. But the one thing that I really like about this one which you find this on a lot of other sprayers as well, pressure gauge right here on the handle.
So this will help me maintain a constant pressure. The reason I want to constant pressure, again I want to try and get a really nice good even coverage and this is going to help me do that. This isn't critical to have on a backpack sprayer, but it's kind of nice that it's here. I've got a full back pad so it's going to be nice and comfortable on my back as I'm carrying it. The shoulder straps are padded and they do lock together right here, as you can see those clip together so that they can keep it in place it also has a waist strap that I can wrap around my waist in clip in as well to just help give support.
The wand it comes with, it's made of brass it'll come with a cone nozzle and a plastic fan tip nozzle, I will probably switch out, well, I will switch out this cone nozzle for the fan tip nozzle so that it gives a nice wide spread on my lawn as I'm spraying. Again this is another one of those things that isn't critical but it's just nice to have a nice large opening to fill up my sprayer, put my product in and water mix it up. It has a removable filter so you know this will help catch debris that I don't want into the tank if you know I'm mixing up with my water hose and something just gets blown in here or whatever, this will catch that and stop it from getting into the actual tank and the insides.
You can remove all this and clean it out and it just allows for you to have access to replace parts if something breaks down and doesn't function properly. What's cool about this, is you can just pull out this pin here and switch this to the other side, so that you can use either your left or right hand to manually pump and spray with the other. So that's kind of nice. With my backpack sprayer, just like my hand canner down here, I'm going to clean it out or rinse it after every use. I'll triple rinse it as a matter of fact, we've made a video on that I'll link it in the description below on how to properly clean out your spray tank.
But the reason we want to clean it out, we don't want to build up, we don't want to let product build up on the inside or in the hose line or in the wand. We want to try and get all that out as much as possible because if we let it sit in there and build up, it could break down the components of the sprayer, the gaskets, the washers all that kind of stuff. We don't want that we want to try and make our sprayer last as long as possible. So by cleaning it out, triple rinsing it, we make sure to, you know, prolong the life of our sprayer, and that's what we want.
We've touched on our sprayer, Now, let's talk about our spreader. It's a very very sad site, but soon it will be green and once again, my friend. So this is the Chapin stainless all season pure spread professional spreader, try saying that three times fast it's a mouthful. Let's go through some of the features. This spreader is a little bit pricy than the other ones that we offer, but I would recommend to go ahead in forking out the dough to get a really nice spreader like this for a couple of reasons.
A higher end spreader like this one is going to come with these air filled tires instead of the plastic ones that you see on a lot of lower end spreaders the reason that's important is because air filled rubber tires like this are going to give you a solid grip on the lawn surface and drive the spreader at a consistent speed.
The slick hard plastic wheels that you find on lower end spreaders are going to slide and skid all over the surface of the yard. That's going to cause the spinner to rotate at different speeds and that's going to give you an an even balance spread pattern of your fertilizers, or your granules that you're trying to get in your yard.
Just like my sprayer, I want to reduce the amount of times I've got to stop and refill, the hopper on this spreader is 100 pound capacity. Now I know what you're thinking, you're probably saying well that's going to be overkill right? I don't need that much. Well think about this, the whole idea again behind a walk behind spreader, is applying materials evenly and more efficiently. So if I have to stop and refill my spreader, I risk not getting a nice even pattern or application on my yard.
Just like the sprayer it's important to keep your spreader nice and clean so that it functions properly. So if there's a product left over in the hopper, dump it back into the bag. If you can't do that, find a separate container and put in there. Keep your paddles nice and clean, if there's an auger keep that clean, try and unclog anything that might be built up in there, that way it just lasts as long as it possibly can. And again you get a nice even spread patterns when you go to put out your products, fertilizers, herbicides, granules whatever you're using.
Something else to consider, most low end spreaders have a little trigger system up here by the handle that you have to grip and hold down to keep the gate open to get your product into the yard. With this one we have a nice metal linkage system that we just simply open up and close to allow the fertilizer or granules to get down into the yard. What's really going to set spreaders apart is the build or the construction of that spreader.
Your cheaper plastic ones, those are going to wear out and break down a lot faster than something like this, this spreader is built onto a metal frame. It's going to last a lot longer, it's durable, it's strong, the metal frame is going to allow for you to fill up 100 pound capacity hopper like this, easily with no problem. With most spreaders, you're going to have a rate dial like this. This is going to control the amount of product that comes out the bottom of the hopper. Now with mine, I have a nice little chart right over here that helps me set the calibration. Also, whatever products you're going to use, it should have a calibration on the label as well, so just look at the label see what it says and then set your spreader accordingly.
Some people have suggested taking sand and filling up your hopper, marking off 1,000 square feet and calibrating your spreader that way. You know adjust this and then walk that 1,000 square feet and see how long it takes for all that sand to empty out. Now, I've even thought about this myself, but talking with our customer service staff, it's probably not recommended to do that and you want to calibrate your spreader once you have your product in there. The reason is, using sand, it's a lot finer and some fertilizers or granules are going to be a lot thicker, they're going to be a lot smaller or longer. It's all going to vary so you want to wait until you have your actual product in your hopper, read the label on the product and then read the instructions on your spreader and match them accordingly.
Another thing that higher end spreaders like this are going to have, is an edge control system like this. So an edge control is going to help you direct product where you want it to go. So if I'm walking up alongside of a garden bed, or my sidewalk or my driveway, the last thing I want to do is waste a lot of product throwing out on to the drive way or side walk. So if I throw this down, my granules, fertilizers, whatever's going to come down into my hopper hit my plate throw out against this edge control and just drop straight down, that way I'm not wasting my product and maximizing it as much as possible. As far as equipment is concerned there's one more thing we need to talk about and it consists of three letters that you've probably heard before, P.P.E., personal protection equipment. These are professional grade products, so we want to make sure that we're dressed appropriately to handle them.
A lot of the product labels are going to state specifically what you need in order to use them, mix them, apply them and so forth. Remember the label is law! Here are some of the things that you don't want to wear when using these products: short sleeved shirt; not a good idea! Shorts; definitely a bad idea. Here are the things that you do want: long pants, boots; good idea! Long sleeves; check. Gloves, preferably rubber; check. Eye protection, and lastly a mask, especially when you're mixing up your products, you don't want to be breathing that in.
Ready to go! In summary, sprayer or spreader two most crucial things you're going to need and also make sure you have personal protection equipment. There's a wide range of sprayers and spreaders out there. We even offer a lot, at the end of the day when it comes down to, personal preference, what you need it for and price point, let's be honest. I would recommend doing your research put in the legwork, read up on all these different sprayers and spreaders and see how they stack up against each other. And as always you can reach out to our customer service staff, shoot them an email, give them a call. Explain to them what you need it for and they can help narrow the field for you as well. The next video in this series is going to be the whopper, my first weed control application. We're going to talk about sprayer calibration and we're going to talk about the product and I'm going to use. We're going to talk about a timetable of when to treat for weeds, all that good stuff, we're going to cover in the next video.
Which leads me to ask you this question, are you subscribed to our channel, to follow along with me as I do my own lawn care? If you're not, click on this button below you can also catch up on all the action by clicking this playlist to watch the previous episodes in the series. Thanks for watching!