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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

Lawn Applications: Speed is Not the Only Factor

Occasionally we are asked to “slow down” when applying lawn products, whether it be spraying by hand or using a push or motorized spreader. Naturally, we assume that’s because there is a concern that the product is not being properly applied. However, the key factors in how much product is being applied are the actual flow rate and the concentration of the product mix coming out of the equipment. Overlap is also an important variable.

Certainly speed can be a factor, but not in and of itself. Slower does not equal better. Shorting a client on product, or applying too much would be an equal disservice given that the results are of paramount importance and hinge directly on things being done right. It’s important to know that with a qualified lawn care company, the technician is licensed and trained to complete a task at the proper rate of application on properly calibrated equipment.

Speeding around a lawn like a race track on a motorized piece of equipment is a ridiculous notion and would likely not allow a proper treatment to be applied. Powered spreaders are calibrated for speed and width of a given pass so your lawn receives the proper dose. Going too fast or being too far apart in overlap would generally mean not enough product, while going too slow and close in overlap would generally mean too much product being applied. Both scenarios can cause suboptimal results.

In the case of spraying by hand off a truck with a pumping system, the tank mix is set once blended and cannot be changed. As with the previous example using power spreaders, the overlap and pace must be uniform to provide a quality treatment to the lawn. Walking slower could certainly provide more material to the lawn but the real solution for more of the “good stuff” would be to have a higher concentration in the tank to begin with – not walking slower or closer together. The proper mix ratio is a variable that the homeowner is unable to evaluate, so a slower speed is often seen as the appropriate process.

The notion of walking or driving slower is not the solution for a better application or gaining superior results. On the contrary, it could be damaging in some situations. The moral to this story is it’s not the speed that matters the most but the rate at what granular products are being applied or the concentration in the liquid tank before being sprayed.