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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

What to spray with

What to spray with.

Nowadays one of the most important implements—in fact, it may be said, an indispensable part of the stock-in-trade of every fruit-grower—is a good spraying apparatus. How many of the orchard-owners of New Zealand possess a really good spraying apparatus? Astonishingly few. In visiting many orchards throughout the colony—orchards of five, ten, or twenty acres, and upwards—the writer has been surprised, on asking to see the spraying apparatus, to find that only a common garden syringe was used. In almost all these cases the owner complained of the disagreeable work, the time it took, the quantity of material, and the poor results obtained from this costly and inefficient method of dressing fruit-trees. This is not spraying, it is drenching the trees, at a cost of three times the material, twice the time, and the result is probably about one-third of what might reasonably be expected from proper spraying. A sprayer, to be effective, requires, first of all, a good strong force-pump with metal valves—in fact, the entire interior should be brass-lined. Next in importance is a nozzle that will throw a mist-like spray, and a coarser nozzle that will not clog when thick fluids are used. There are many, especially American, firms who make a speciality of spraying apparatus. These machines may be divided into three classes—first, horse-power automatic machines; second, machines drawn by horse-power, but operated by hand; third, hand-machines. All belonging to the first group may be dismissed with the statement that they are unnecessarily expensive and complicated, and will not, even in the most careful hands, do the work as-thoroughly and effectually as the machines belonging to the second and third groups.

In the second group there are many reliable forms in the market, such as the Tarringdon, Field, Gould, Nixon, and other makes. In all of them may be found cheap efficient machines in the form of strong but light double-acting, double-discharge force-pumps, usually fixed to a barrel, which may either be mounted direct on a carriage of its own, or simply placed on a stand in the orchard-wagon, and so drawn to the trees. It may be said of these that, while they cannot do the work as rapidly as the machines of the first class, they are more effective, much cheaper, and far less wasteful of the wash used.

Coming to the third class, the knapsack sprayers are the only ones necessary to notice. For small orchards and general vineyard use the knapsack form of sprayer, having the reservoir and pump combined, to be carried on the back of the operator like a knapsack, fills every requirement. In no other machine is the work at all times so absolutely under control, it being possible to place nearly every page 5 drop of liquid exactly where it is wanted. A knapsack sprayer is a most useful adjunct in every orchard, no matter how large, as it often occurs that only a few trees require spraying, or perhaps a plot of vines; also, in places where the larger apparatus, owing to the nature of the land, cannot be utilised.

Efficient nozzles are supplied with most of the machines. They are usually Cyclone, or modifications of that form. Nixon's Climax is also an excellent form for clear liquids.