Using Foliar-Pak with Low-Volume Sprayers

steel green manufacturing equipment using foliar-pak fertilizer

Did you know Foliar-Pak products are perfect for low-volume applications using ride-on equipment like the Steel Green Manufacturing zero-turn sprayer-spreader machines? Foliar-Pak products are highly concentrated—meaning there are more nutrients and less filler in the jug compared to other liquid fertilizers. Plus, Foliar-Pak products are taken into the plant via foliar and root-absorption, so they require less water in the tank.

Whether you are new to applying Foliar-Pak with low-volume sprayers or you’re a seasoned pro, here are some best practices for calibration, mixing ingredients, and general maintenance of your machine.

Preserving the Pump

How can you make the pump last longer?

To maximize the lifespan of the pump, keep it at 40 psi. The pump will get hot going above 40 psi plus you will spray out more product.

Mixing the Tank

Is there a certain procedure for adding products to the tank?

Preparing for your applications is simple. Mixing order does not matter with Foliar-Pak products. Just fill the tank halfway with water, pour in your products, then fill it up the rest of the way with water.

Cleaning

How often should I wash the machine?

Keep the machine as dry as possible and blow the fertilizer or dust off the machine before bringing it back to the shop. Only wash the machine when it is dirty as urea is corrosive and can cause rusting.

How do I keep the screens and tips of the nozzles clean?

You can wash the screens and nozzles in a container of water and use a toothbrush to scrub gently. Rinse when finished. Never use a metal wire or toothpick to remove buildup as you can damage the orifice of the nozzle.

Calibration

When should you calibrate?

The two best times to calibrate the machine are in the spring and when switching to a different SGN size. For example, if you are using a 220/240 SGN and would like to switch to a smaller prill size, then you would need to calibrate the machine.

How often should you calibrate?

Calibrate the machine monthly or before your next round of applications.

You can calibrate the machine in the spring. You should check to make sure the machine is calibrated every so often or when switching nozzle sizes.

Guidelines for Applications

What is the best way to fertilize?

Always fertilize in straight lines and 90-degree angles, and make sure you are moving when spraying product. Spraying when you are stationary or sharply turning the machine while fertilizing can cause you to burn the turf, waste product, and stripe the lawn (making it greener in some sections).

How important is speed on small lawns versus large lawns?

Paying attention to your average speed is important. If you are receiving less square footage out of the tank than you are supposed to, you are going slower than your targeted average speed. This may happen on smaller lawns where it is more difficult to maintain your average speed. In this situation, use the high rate on smaller lawns. It will be easier to keep an average speed on larger lawns but to help avoid applying too much or too little product, use the middle rate.

What is the best practice for landscapes?

Apply nutrients to landscapes from an independent tank to avoid contamination from chemical residue that may exist in spray tanks. The chemical residue can cause defoliation in ornamentals.

Guidelines for Stressed Turf

Should I drive on stressed turf?

Be careful driving over diseased turf as certain turfgrass diseases will spread and follow the path of the machine. It’s best to avoid driving on diseased areas especially when the turf is damp.

When should I spray a recovery application?

For recovery applications, the same rule applies for mowing stressed turf. Don’t apply when there is no rebound of the turf after you step on it.

When can liquid be a better option than granular?

In times of stress, liquid fertilizer may be a better option than granular fertilizer. You can also apply a wider range of products to help in a stressful situation than just N-P-K. Check out Foliar-Pak Colonise Bio, Play-On, Grow-In, Micros Plus, and Foundation 40 for stressed turf situations.

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About the Author Dawn Rigby

I am a green industry marketer serving as the media contact and brand manager for the Foliar-Pak product line. I graduated with an MBA from Ball State University and a BS in Business, Marketing from Indiana University. My experience within the green industry includes product marketing at the manufacturing, distribution, and retail levels. I began working with the folks at EnP in 2012, and my role has evolved to include marketing strategy, corporate communications, and brand management.

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