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  • Writer's pictureGreenway Turf Solutions

Tips for best spray results

With many turf managers currently spraying herbicides for Pre and Post-Emergent weed control, are you cleaning the tank properly before it may be used over greens surfaces again? What are the risks?

It is recommended that spray tanks are cleaned regularly using a tank cleaner. This helps to remove any residue from applications that may damage turf in future applications. Regular use of a tank cleaner will also protect critical parts such as the sprayer's pump, valves and nozzles from excessive build up and potential blockages.

cleaning spray tanks for longer lasting machinery and minimising risks

Keep in mind that there may be more than 1 chemical used, and information on each chemical should be assessed.

Before working on a sprayer system, make sure that the system has been triple rinsed and neutralized according to the recommendations and all the valves have been cycled 3 times.

  • Obtain proper training before using or handling chemicals.

  • Use the correct chemical for the job.

  • Follow the chemical manufacturer's instructions for the safe application of the chemical. Do not exceed recommended system application pressure.

  • Do not fill, calibrate, or clean the unit when people, especially children, or pets are in the area.

  • Handle chemicals in a well ventilated area.

  • Have clean water available especially when filling the spray tank.

  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while working with chemicals.

  • Do not clean spray nozzles by blowing through them or placing in mouth.

  • Always wash your hands and other exposed areas as soon as possible after you finish working with chemicals.

  • Keep chemicals in their original packages and stored in a safe location.

  • Properly dispose of unused chemicals and chemical containers as instructed by the chemical manufacturer and your local codes.

  • Chemicals and fumes are dangerous; never enter the tank or place your head over or in the opening of a tank.

  • Follow all local, state, and federal regulations for spreading or spraying chemicals.

*US brand names used in article

A quick, post-application, infield rinse may not be enough. Even very small amounts of herbicide residue left in tanks, hoses, screens, fittings, or booms can seriously damage crops.

Some herbicide products still call for applying pints or quarts of herbicide per acre, but many herbicides now have application rates measured in ounces per acre. Residues from products with these lower application rates can affect crops even when trace amounts are left in the application equipment.

Furthermore, adjuvants may dislodge old herbicide residues that are embedded in tank walls or hoses, or may help break down particles in screens. When they do, the adjuvants may cause an old, unwanted herbicide residue to mix into the spray liquid. If the next sprayer load is Roundup or Liberty herbicide, the surfactants from those products can act like a powerful tank cleaner, reacting with plant-growth regulator residues and then causing unintended crop injury.

Finally, many labels require the cleaning of sprayers before and after mixing and applying. Products with a label that states that the sprayer and equipment must be clean BEFORE mixing and loading means that you thoroughly clean the spray tank and all lines and filters, following the label directions on the previously applied pesticide prior to mixing the product. Remember the label is the law.

For more information about labelling codes in Australia, visit:

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