There are all sorts, shapes, sizes, and prices of sprayers and dust guns to select from, as you know. Some apply tile control materials dry as dust, others wet as a spray. Each one has its devotees. Whether you dust or spray is like deciding whether to buy a box of pancake mix or mix your own. You have to decide.
Dusting is quick and easy with the proper dust gun. If it is a small one with a small plunger or pump, you may have to work hard to get results. A two-quart size with a three or four-foot extension pipe on the end is easy to use and efficient for the average yard.
It will cost a few dollars and with care will last for years. You can even put a six-foot aluminum pipe extension tube on to dust small trees. For larger yards and gardens you will need a crank type, and there are larger power outfits for commercial use.
Use of Dust Gun
The small dust guns holding but a half pound or pound of dust are not nearly as satisfactory as the larger size that holds two quarts of dust. I always like one with a top handle so I know which side belongs up. If you keep them right side up they are less likely to, may I say, “burp,” and throw out a lot of dust all at once to disfigure and possibly burn the foliage.
And the cardboard tube dust guns in which some of the dust is sold are only fair. They have two disadvantages. They do not direct the dust sufficiently to get it under as well as on top of the foliage, and if the dust gets a little damp it takes a large vocabulary to use them, for they keep clogging.
Any dust gun should have a deflector on the end of the nozzle or pipe to deflect the dust the way you want it. Any screen on the end should be removable in case there are lumps in the dust and it clogs.
Of course, if you are desperate you can put your dust in a cheesecloth bag and hit it with a stick. This is far better than using a salt shaker or a tin can with holes punched in the bottom.
Advantages of a Dust Gun
One of the main advantages of a dust gun is that you can keep it loaded, and ready for use. No need to stop and mix the spray material. You buy the dust already mixed to use. And the dust guns are so inexpensive you can buy at least two for the price of one sprayer.
Then you can keep all-purpose dust in one and some different dust in the other. Be sure to get two different colors or else label with a piece of adhesive tape.
Dusting may be done any hour of the day or night provided the foliage is dry. The old idea that the foliage must be damp to make the dust stick often causes burning, as some dust concentrates in the droplets of water and as they dry up may burn the foliage.
The dusting technique is like a woman powdering her nose, only a microscopic film of dust is necessary. You know what an overdose looks like. More gives no better control, and it may burn the foliage. Besides, it renders the plants unsightly.
If sufficiently fine dust is used, they will swirl in all directions and get on the under as well as the upper surface of leaves. This makes it more efficient than spraying with the average home garden sprayer.
It is surprising how inexpensive dusting can be if you do not overdo it. Most gardeners use three or four times as much dust as they need to.
Spraying Than Dusting
Spraying is usually more effective than dusting but this requires a high pressure of 100 pounds or more which home equipment does not usually supply. It also calls for more experience and thoroughness in applying than the average gardener is willing to give, and also requires more manual labor.
The small quart-size atomizer type of sprayer may be all right for flies in the house but is of no practical value for more than a pot plant or two. Besides, it will wear you out physically pumping it. Unfortunately, it does not use the muscles necessary for reducing exercise.
Bucket pumps to be placed in a pail or tub make an inexpensive two-man outfit, one to pump and one to spray. If fitted with 10 or 15 feet of one-quarter-inch spray hose and six feet of one-quarter-inch pipe for a spray rod, they are amazingly practical for spraying small trees and shrubs. And the pail or tub is much easier to wash out than the container of knapsack sprayers.
The three-gallon compressed-air knapsack sprayer is a handy size for small yards. If you can get a copper tank they will last a long time. The galvanized tanks will take careful washing and cleaning after each use as many of the spray materials are slightly corrosive.
It is also possible to buy sprayers installed in drums and barrels of varying sizes mounted on wheels for ease in moving around. That is the trouble with the bucket pump. You always want to borrow Junior’s wagon. But with all sprayers that require constant pumping, you are confronted with the availability and co-operation of your better half or junior.
Unless you have a considerable amount of spraying to do at more or less regular intervals, the cost of gasoline or electric-powered equipment is a questionable expense. It all depends on what your hobby is and how badly your wife wants a new hat or new carpets.
Today, some very nice gasoline and electric powered sprayers are made which develop sufficiently high pressure to give excellent control. The principle beneath this is the higher the pressure, the finer the spray is broken up, and the better the coverage of the surface of the foliage. The higher the pressure (up to 100 or 1000 pounds), the less spray material is used.
Sprayers should always be emptied after using and thoroughly washed out. This takes time which dust guns do not require. Once spray material has been mixed with water it should be used immediately. You will find that some spreaders used in some spray materials will gum up your sprayer unless you wash it out very carefully.
It is not advisable to use your regular garden sprayer for control weeds. There is too much danger that you will not get it cleaned out and will damage your flowers and vegetables; next time you spray.
Any sprayer you buy should have a spray rod of at least two feet in length and possibly four to six feet. It should have a 45° elbow on the end so that the spray may be directed on either the upper or under surface. The nozzle should have a sufficiently small opening that breaks the spray into a fine mist.
44659 by Victor H. Ries