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Garden sprayers are used to apply liquid treatments to tomato plants, such as fungicide to treat diseases, insecticide to control pests, or a fertilizer product like fish emulsion. Both synthetic (man-made) products as well as organic materials like horticultural oils can be applied with a sprayer.
Products used in a sprayer are available as liquids, granules, or powders.
The main considerations you need to think about when choosing a sprayer are:
A hose-end sprayer is a device attached to the end of a garden hose. It includes a container for the product (whether a liquid concentrate, granules, or powder); a sprayer head that you set to allow the correct proportion of product to be diluted with water to make the solution; and a nozzle to deliver the product to your tomato plant. (Browse sprayers.)
Advantages to hose-end sprayers
Disadvantages to hose-end sprayers
What to remember about hose-end sprayers
Clean nozzle thoroughly after application.
Also called pump sprayers, tank sprayers, or pressure sprayers, compression sprayers are the most commonly-used in the garden. A compression sprayer is made up of three main parts: a tank which holds the product mix, a pump to provide pressure, and a nozzle/wand combination to apply the product to your tomato plants.
To operate, combine the correct proportions of the product with water, fill the tank, and secure the top. Pump the handle to build air pressure into the tank. When you're ready to apply the product, press the trigger to open a valve at the end of the hose and direct the stream or mist to your plant. Compressed air forces the liquid spray out the nozzle.
Compression sprayers (pump sprayers) are available in hand-held versions or as backpacks. Hand-held versions range from 1 gallon to 3 gallon capacity and usually have a trigger valve and spray wand to which a single nozzle is attached. Backpack versions typically hold 5 gallons.
Advantages to a compression sprayer
Disadvantages to a compression sprayer
What to remember about compression sprayers
(Pick a garden sprayer that works for you.)
Trigger sprayers are made up of a simple plastic squeeze-pump handle mounted on a plastic bottle. They’re used often as a mister. Trigger sprayers work well if you have just a couple of plants than need a product application. Combine the right proportions of the product with water in the sprayer and apply.
Advantages to trigger sprayers
Disadvantages to trigger sprayers
Their small size makes trigger sprayers impractical if you must treat more than two or three plants.
What to remember about trigger sprayers
If you use it for a fungicide or pesticide treatment, be sure to mark the bottle clearly and use it only for that purpose.
Slide sprayers can produce the farthest-reaching stream of the entire sprayer family, but they require continual pumping and the stream is not constant. The pump, which is built into the handle, has an action that works on both the push and pull strokes to maintain a constant stream. Because this type of sprayer throws the spray further than any other type of hand-operated sprayer, it's quite effective for spraying fruit trees. It is not recommended for spraying tomato plants.
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