Simple Tips to Increase Efficacy

Trying to get the biggest bang for your buck is the name of the game these days with a suffering economy and rock bottom budgets. When laying out your budget for the next year, chemicals can top the list as being one of the more expensive line items. It is important to get your money’s worth each time you go out to control pests. There are a few tips that I stand by when applying high dollar fungicides and long-term insect control. Knowledge is the key. Knowing the target, knowing your product, and knowing proper application procedures.

Knowing the target is key when control is needed. So many people rely on calendar applications, which are not very accurate. Every year brings different conditions so relying on a calendar application can result in money lost because your timing was off.

Using a prediction model can adjust your timing to the development of your insects or bring your attention to leaf wetness period to plan your prevention of disease. Knowing the life cycle of your target can help you plan your preventative application so your not reacting too late in their development. Knowing how a disease or insects attack the plant is very important as well. I have heard of application that were made for root infecting diseases but were not watered in properly. Simple oversights can cost a lot of money in application and only get a small percentage of control.
Knowing your product is very important. When you try a new chemistry or use a trusted product it is important you are getting the most out of your application. Remember the chemical companies spend millions of dollars testing and registering these chemicals for our use. The testing is definitely in a controlled environment, which we do not have. That is one variable you cannot avoid. Reading the label reveals important information that may be overlooked. Things that people take for granted are, proper application rate, recommended pH of the solution to avoid breakdown and mode of action. This is important information when planning your application. Have you checked the pH of the water you are using to fill your tank? Can you apply with proper dilution? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself when planning out your spray schedule.
The last thing to complete before you load up your tank with an expensive application that you may rely on for extended periods of control is proper calibration. I make sure I calibrate before every application. The first thing that I make sure I have is proper nozzle selection. Nozzles are like different size wrenches for a mechanic. Each one does a different job and not one can do the job of the other. I have a set of nozzles for high volume applications like fungicides, a set for foliar applications. Applying the product according to the proper dilution can make the efficacy much better. When the label recommends 2gal per thousand square feet then applying it at 1 gal per thousand will reduce your efficacy by a good percentage.
Next time you go out to spray your three thousand dollar application that you will trust to have great control for the whole season make sure since you are relying on one spray application that all the variables that you are able to control are spot on. Next time you talk to your neighbor and he is complaining about breakthrough from his application it might behoove you to ask a couple simple questions to get to the root of the problem. Application timing, application rate and proper dilution would be my first questions. You would be surprised at how little things can make a big difference. Taking the time to make sure you applying your chemicals properly can save you time and money.


I have been working in this industry a long time and always wondered why there are few resources on sprayer calibration and maintenance.

Can you do an article on proper maintenance for the spring, summer, fall and winter? How do I properly calibrate a sprayer?

Good article Mr Ruiz.

Hey Randy, thanks for your comments and kind words of Justin.

Yes, we will do a number of pieces on Sprayer Calibration. I'm getting in contact with an expert to discuss seasonal sprayer care. We'll work on getting an article on sprayer calibration for driving units, walk behinds and back pack sprayers soon as I'm sure many supers are calibrating in prep for a pre-winter application.