A “HARDY PERENNIAL” question in gardening circles is, “Should I dust or spray my plants?” The only logical answer to this question is, “It all depends.”
It depends upon what you want to accomplish, how many plants you have, how tight your budget is, and how much time and interest you give your plantings.
If we take these factors individually, we can soon answer the question ourselves. After all, that is what you are after, as any answer tailored for the “general gardening public” may not fit your situation.
First, what are you after? Do you want the finest possible protection for your plants, regardless of effort and other considerations?
Some gardeners want such conditions on general principles. Others want them because they want to enter their blooms in competition and are satisfied with nothing less.
Spraying Is The Answer
In such a case, spraying is your answer. Time after time, qualified research workers have proved that most nearly perfect control of troubles (note the precise wording which a scientist will demand) is to be gained through spraying rather than dusting.
If, on the other hand, you can be satisfied with the reasonably good condition of your plants (better than 90% percent control) so that the overall effect is good, you can save time and effort by dusting.
Where only a few plants are involved, dusting is very handy. A loaded dust gun can be picked up, and a few dozen plants can be protected in minutes.
With spraying, mixing a pint of spray takes almost as long as it does five gallons. Then too, sprayers must be cleaned after every use while a partly filled duster is just put on the shelf until it is needed again.
At the amateur level of gardening, spraying is cheaper than dusting. Where just a few plants are involved, however, the savings in dollars hardly justify the added labor time. If your plantings are extensive, the savings may be appreciable.
Generally speaking, it is much easier to “custom make” sprays- for specific conditions and needs of the plants at any given time. The mixing of dust “to order” is not simple.
This factor has little bearing in this day of “multipurpose” sprays and dust, where few plants are involved. This point should be considered carefully in larger operations or where the budget is important.
Whether you spray or dust, covering both sides of all foliage is important. This is generally easier to do by spraying.
Spraying is also more thorough under windy conditions. However, a good job can be done with well-designed equipment.
Dusting Is Fine
Dusting is fine for protecting a few plants quickly. Good control of many troubles is possible with modern dust, either custom mixed (not an easy or a pleasant task) or with “multipurpose” dust clouds.
Spraying is cheaper, especially where large numbers of plants are involved, gives better control, and mixes are readily changed to fit any particular need. The “get-ready and cleanup” time is annoying for small plantings.
Also, the physical work of carrying large amounts of liquids and keeping the tank pressure sufficiently high for fine “atomization” of the spray is not to be overlooked. Ladies, especially, should ponder this point, particularly where large plantings are involved.
My solution to the problem, as I have fairly extensive plantings, no excess money, and little more time, is to compromise. I spray regularly. Then when unexpected troubles show up or rains make necessary extra applications of protective materials, I dust to save time.
By going over the above, you should develop an equally satisfactory solution for your garden tailored to your needs.
44659 by Dr. Fred J. Nisbet