Home/Garden Sprayers

- An essential garden tool -

Summary: Small hand-pump garden sprayers allow you to apply controlled amounts of pesticides and other chemicals right where they are needed. Almost every pesticide, whether conventional or organic, calls for application by some type of sprayer.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

A good hand-pump sprayer is an essential tool even if you don't use conventional pesticides. Sprayers allow you to apply all garden chemicals in precise amounts and place them exactly where they are needed. The instructions for nearly every garden chemical, except dusts, calls for using a pump sprayer to apply it.

Ideally you should have access to at least two sprayers -- one that you use only for herbicides (weed killers) and another one for insecticides/miticides. While it is possible to wash your spray tank between applications it is better to keep these materials in separate, labeled tanks. This will minimize the possibility of accidentally applying herbicide on your tomatoes!

Garden sprayer sizes

Garden sprayers come in a variety of sizes and quality. I'd suggest you have a good quality 1-gallon sprayer for applying herbicides and a 1-liter (quart) sprayer, or a second 1-gallon size, for insecticides (see the Solo sprayer link below). If you have fruit trees or grapes you may also want a 4-gallon backpack sprayer for applying fungicides. This backpack sprayer is also useful for applying wettable powder insecticides for boxelder bug control (see How to Control Boxelder Bugs). Finally, you may want a hose-end sprayer for applying liquid fertilizers, beneficial nematodes and milky spore for Japanese beetle control.

Solo pump garden sprayer

Solo garden sprayer. This new 1 gallon size can be used for herbicides ("weed killers") or insecticides.

Using garden sprayers

To mix garden chemicals first pour half of the water into the tank, add the measured amount of chemical concentrate and use the remaining water to rinse the measuring cup into the tank. Mix by inverting the tank several times. When you are finished spraying rinse the tank 2-3 times with clean water and spray out the hose and nozzle with the final rinse water. Hose off the exterior of the sprayer as well.

Quality sprayer manufacturers, like Solo, provide spare parts for their larger sprayer models. I urge you to only consider sprayers that have spare parts readily available. I use outdated insecticidal soap (1-2% solution) to clean spray tanks between applications and at the end of the season.

Sprayer maintenance and spare parts

Garden sprayers are made of a metal or polyethylene tank, a pump mechanism, hose, valve, wand, and spray nozzle. The pump mechanism is the part of the sprayer that requires the most maintenance. Every year you should take the pump mechanism apart, clean it and replace the "O" rings. Add a little grease around the new rings as well. Next, clean the nozzle and replace the wand if it has been bent or broken. Finally, disassemble the valve, clean the parts and reassemble with a little grease. New "O" rings are the parts that are most often replaced. Large sprayer manufacturers like Solo sell "O" ring kits for their sprayers but you can also find individual "O" rings at most auto parts stores.

Where to purchase garden sprayers

Inexpensive garden and hose-end sprayers can be found at your local lawn and garden stores but better quality sprayers are available at stores that cater to farmers, and here (DoMyOwn.com, our affiliate)

Don't forget to bookmark us for next time - press ctrl-D in most browsers.

Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information for solving common insect and mite problems around your home, business and landscape using least-toxic methods.

Please see the Disclaimer statements as well.

Copyright © 2004-... LivingWithBugs, LLC. All rights reserved.