Why a backpack sprayer works best for an acre
I have been spraying weeds for many, many years with my Solo backpack sprayer. It is the most convenient and efficient method for dealing with an acre.
An acre is too large to deal with using a hand held sprayer, where you have to constantly squeeze the trigger. But an acre is too small to invest in a large tank for a truck or wagon.
Four gallons of liquid is, however, quite uncomfortable on my shoulders, even if it is gradually decreasing. Several years ago I was comparing notes with a neighbor and she said it had occurred to her that she didn’t have to fill it up all the way just because it held that much. I took her advice and now only fill my sprayer two gallons at a time.
Feeling jealous of other people’s blue dye
Still, I had never used a dye to keep track of where I sprayed. I just plugged along, creating patterns that helped me remember where I’d been. You can’t just go by what is wet, because in the summer things dry pretty fast.
Something clicked or snapped or something after trying to spray at our new property, though. I think it might be partly because the areas are larger and harder to break into patterns, even though it is still just a bit over an acre.
I was noticing the obvious blue where other people had sprayed, whether it be homes or parks. I think I had simply assumed before that it was something special that only certain people, like government weed control, had access to. Also, I had never seen anything like it in stores.
The easiest place for me to investigate it was on Amazon.
The benefits of blue dye in your backpack sprayer
I settled on PetraTools Blue Herbicide Lawn Dye – Super Strength Concentrate. It has great reviews and was a price I considered reasonable.
When it came, I was appropriately cautious. I opened it carefully. I took steps to avoid getting on the concrete walkways.
I will admit that I didn’t use a measuring spoon or cup. I estimated. The first sprayer full was too light in color, but some of that was because there were SO many green leafy plants. The dye shows up better if there is some ground around the weeds as well.
I still estimated for the next load. I got color easier to see that time.
My one complaint is that it is difficult to pour the dye without it dripping down the outside of the bottle. I told my husband that I wish we could come up with a dropper dispenser, like I have for the chemicals I use to check my swimming pool pH and chlorine levels. Drops would avoid waste and mess.
Being able to see where I had sprayed made spraying more relaxing, if walking back and forth in the sun pumping a sprayer can be relaxing. It was at least more relaxing than trying so hard to keep track mentally of where I’d been. I didn’t realize how much I was straining my brain doing that!
True to advertising, the dye faded over the next couple of days.
Unexpected places I found dye when I was done
I wipe the backpack sprayer dry every time after filling it. I get sweaty enough doing this work and don’t need the discomfort of odd drips or thinking there are spiders crawling into my shirt.
I did notice that some dye was collecting around the rim of the lid of the backpack sprayer, which was a bit of a mystery. I always poured it so it went deep into the tank and the water level was well below the lid.
I suppose that somehow with jostling the liquid while walking the blue molecules attached up there. But they also were NOT adhering to the rest of the tank. It was always clear liquid with only a slight tinge of blue, not the dark blue that was around the lid. But more importantly, I didn’t see any OUTSIDE of the tank.
I didn’t think any was getting on me. Until I took off my shirt. Then I found a smurf blue streak down the back of the shirt. I am glad I noticed this before I put it in the laundry with the rest of the whites…
I washed it separately and the came out perfectly white again.
My glove was another unexpected reservoir of blue. I had worn my regular garden gloves, which are fabric on the back for breathability and a rubber coating on the grip side. They are worn, so the rubber is missing in a few places.
It wasn’t until I took the gloves off that I saw my trigger finger was blue. It didn’t wash off right away, but was gone after a few hand washings.
And all was good until a couple of days later when my finger mysteriously turned blue again. Finally, I realized there was dye hidden inside the finger of the gloves still, so whenever I wore them my sweat activated the dye and I got “smurf finger”.
The bottle of concentrate should last a while and I will be using it every time I spray from now on.