What’s in a spray setup?

Spray setup (Photo: Green Lawn Fertilizing)
Spray setup (Photo: Green Lawn Fertilizing)
Spray setup (Photo: Green Lawn Fertilizing)
Three in one Green Lawn Fertilizing’s spray trucks are equipped with three tanks totaling 600 gallons of capacity. (Photo: Green Lawn Fertilizing)

When choosing a spray rig setup, there are several factors that should flow into the final decision.

“It is important to understand that the investment goes beyond the vehicle,” says Ryan Petitti, director of technical and quality assurance at Green Lawn Fertilizing in West Chester, Pa. “While initially difficult to quantify, the impact on weed control and reduction on service calls will provide a return on investment over time.”

Petitti and Jared Icard, owner of Roots Turf and Ornamental in Bonaire, Ga., share what factors should come into play when selecting a spray setup.

Efficiency wins out

For Roots Turf and Ornamental, a lawn care operation serving a mostly residential clientele, efficiency comes to mind first.

The company uses Graham Spray Equipment’s open flatbed trucks with the spray tanks on the back. So far, it has 10 spray rigs in its operation, with a few more in the works.

“Out of these trucks, if we come to your property and need to spray trees and shrubs, we’ve got it set up for that,” Icard says. “We can do everything out of one truck, and we’re not having to backtrack on routes or send multiple technicians out. One technician can do it all.”

Icard points to the trucks’ ability to maneuver in and out of residential neighborhoods and ease of maintenance as other time-saving factors.

Green Lawn Fertilizing’s spray setups were also designed with efficiency in mind. The company provides lawn care, ornamental and pest services to a mostly residential clientele.

The company’s spray systems are configured with the ability to carry multiple mixture combinations at any given time and are comprised of three tanks totaling 600 gallons of carrying capacity: a 300-, 200- and 100-gallon tank.

The spray system is outfitted with two electric reels, each equipped with a 300-foot, 0.5-inch hose. The top reel pulls from the 300-gallon tank, while the bottom reel can pull from the 200- or 100-gallon tank. The company uses a Lesco spray gun calibrated at 2 gallons per minute. An electric start Honda GX160 engine powers the spray system.

“We were inspired by a single focus: maximizing service results for our customers,” Petitti says.

The setup allows crews to mix multiple product combinations, Petitti adds, which has reduced the number of passes over the lawn because technicians can apply fertilizer, weed control and surface/subsurface insect control in a single pass.

He notes that using liquid has also improved technicians’ ability to service challenging areas, such as hills, curb strips, parking lot islands and turf around landscape obstacles.

“From a safety perspective, we have reduced physical strain due to the decreased need of loading and unloading bags of granular from our vehicles as well as reducing the handling of concentrates,” Petitti says.

Advice for fellow LCOs

For LCOs looking into new spray rigs, Petitti recommends performing an impact analysis on labor and efficiency, including a time analysis of individual services on different sized properties; a square footage analysis to determine the best treatment method (spreader-sprayer method such as a Z-Spray or a spray truck method); and a cost analysis of a granular program versus a liquid program.

Finally, Petitti says it’s helpful to involve seasoned technicians to provide input on vehicle configurations. It’s also a good idea to build a single vehicle first and put it into service for a couple months before scaling the model.

“This permits the ability to make modifications for improvement,” he says.

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