Before the ground thaws and we launch into spring, take some time this winter to review the status of your equipment and tools. Specifically, backpack sprayers and spreaders can get out of alignment if they’re not calibrated.
Measuring and adjusting the amount of pesticide or fertilizer your equipment will apply over a target area is key to ensuring the overall health of plants and turf. Too much or too little can result in burned or damaged turf, which means calibration is a critical first step in making certain that your equipment is applying product uniformly and at the correct rate.
Proper calibration of the equipment you use day in and day out has many benefits, including:
- Improving target pest (i.e. weeds, insect or disease) control
- Preventing off-site damage
- Creating a healthier turf
- Reducing customer complaints
- Saving money
To help set you up for success this spring, we’ve put together this handy checklist with steps for proper equipment calibration. Print it out to use as a guide or follow these steps as you review your equipment ahead of the busy spring season:
Steps for Calibrating a Backpack Sprayer
- Set up marking flags for the distance you need to cover.
- Fill your backpack sprayer tank half full with water.
- Time yourself spraying water between your marking flags.
- Spray water into a bucket for the same amount of time it took to cover the distance between marking flags. Repeat 2 more times and average the results.
- The average fluid ounces equals the number of gallons per acre.
Steps for Calibrating a Broadcast Spreader
- Determine how much fertilizer you will need to cover a 1,000 sq. ft. area. This can often be found on the fertilizer bag.
- Measure the effective swath width of your spreader—this is dependent on your walking speed.
- Set the spreader to the middle setting and practice the spread on a solid surface.
- Measure the distance of the effective swath. This is the area the fertilizer material hits before it begins to thin on.
As we head into spring, get your equipment ready to work as hard as you do by calibrating it in order to maximize results. For more in-depth information on how to calibrate your equipment, here are two of our Ewing videos that may help: