We asked representatives from sprayer equipment and supplies companies: If there’s one thing you could remind golf course superintendents and their crews about the importance of making the perfect spray, what would it be? Here is what they had to say.
Ken Rost | Vice President of Technical Sales, Frost Inc.
Prepare to the point of having confidence. It goes beyond choosing a product to spray. Did the product mix well? Will the sprayer keep the product agitated? Is the sprayer well-maintained to the point that interrupted spray applications will not be an issue? Does the sprayer have the best technology to ensure a proper application and provide confidence that the job will be done right? If asked, you need to be able to answer these questions with confidence. If the confidence isn’t there, address the issue before spraying. It will make spraying a better experience for everyone involved.
Jace Bertsch | Marketing Manager, The Toro Co.
Delivering consistent and precise spray applications is of paramount importance to turf managers. Fortunately, technology exists today that allows even users with very little experience the ability to produce accurate and reliable results. GPS technology found on sprayers today helps operators achieve uniform application rates and also reduces chemical usage by spraying only the desired target areas, and eliminating gaps and overlaps. In addition, the technology allows superintendents to create jobs containing multiple boundaries. This means all 18 greens can be included in a single spray job, which simplifies programming.
Lee Frie | Product Manager, Jacobsen
Because there are so many variables associated with spraying such as wind, evapotranspiration rate, mixing calculations and operator inputs, there really isn’t such a thing as a completely perfect spray. But the more you can control those variables, the more you can increase the economic value associated with that application. Superintendents are doing their best to minimize these variables by utilizing the various tools available to them. Using current technology like GPS mapping, vehicle speed-to-application-rate synchronization, variable droplet size for drift control and others has afforded superintendents the ability to come very close to performing a perfect spray application. Although the initial cost associated with acquiring these technologies may seem high, the payback in most cases is remarkably significant and fast.
Craig G. Broyhill | President, Broyhill Inc.
Proper — calibration, calibration, calibration — makes the perfect spray. Calibration of the sprayer/mixture includes the following points: Checking for worn tips and replacing them on a regular basis, consistently traveling your proper speed and also following the chemical label’s recommendation. Worn tips of course give poor coverage and should be replaced periodically for proper pattern and discharge. Speed matters, too, because calibrating for 4 mph but traveling 6 mph is a 50 percent under application of chemical. Finally, labels matter because chemical manufacturers have designed the chemical to properly do the jobs they were designed to do.
Brooks Hastings | Product Marketing Manager, John Deere Golf
Don’t forget about the simple things like proper sprayer calibration. Calibrating is commonly thought of as a burdensome task, but in the grand scheme of things the amount of time you spend calibrating is nothing compared to the work it would take to repair the turf as a result of over-application. Both over-applying and underapplying pesticides and fertilizers can be detrimental to the turf and your bottom line. Using more chemicals than you need will lead to additional expenses and can take a harmful toll on the turf and potentially harm the environment. On the other hand, if you’re not using enough, you run the risk of harming the turfgrass.
COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF IMAGINEGOLF/SIGNATURE/ISTOCK