Which Sprayer is Right for You?
By Nita Bowen, ARS Consulting Rosarian
(From The Charlotte Rosebud, Jan.-Feb., 1999)

Use of a proper sprayer for your particular garden eliminates disposal of excess spray material and saves constant refills. This costs time and effort and tends to discourage the rosarian from practicing a proper spray program. Basically, there are four types of sprayers: Trigger, Hose-End, Compression, and Electric.

Trigger Sprayers are at the other extreme from the electric sprayers (described below). They are like a plastic commercial glass cleaner bottle with a plastic trigger handle. They are of very small capacity and limiting for use on all but the smallest jobs. They are, however, quite inexpensive and can be useful in the case of very small rose gardens or for misting of a small number of buds and blooms. It is important that a label be applied indicating its use so as not to be mixed up with other household chemicals.

Hose-End Sprayers are relatively inexpensive. They attach to the end of the garden hose and have a small jar with a dial mechanism to regulate the amount of spray material per gallon. Hose-End Sprayers deliver a lot of spray with a minimum of effort but the measuring mechanisms tend to be inaccurate and permits a wide variation in delivery of chemicals. A further disadvantage is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to spray the underside of the leaves. One must use caution in using one of these sprayers in protecting from overspray.

Compression Sprayers are pumped manually to provide air pressure for delivery of the spray material and require much less effort than Trigger Sprayers. They come in many sizes and are available with carrying straps or as a backpack. Because water is surprisingly heavy, a compression sprayer with a maximum capacity of 3-4 gallons is more practical, and one of 2-3 gallons is the most convenient size. A 1/2 gallon polypropylene sprayer is very useful for misting the buds and blooms. For larger gardens, the constant pumping can prove tiring. Choose a compression sprayer with a wide mouth to permit ease of filling.

Electric Sprayers are for larger gardens, and for those who wish to minimize the time and effort of spraying without sacrifice of precise control. These sprayers are the most expensive. Popular among many rosarians is the Atomist Airblast, which dispenses small spray particles and provides excellent coverage of both the tops and bottoms of the foliage. It is relatively small, holding only 1.5 gallons of spray material, but is easily refillable. Because it creates very small size particles which are easy to inhale, the user should exercise care in protection.

Also popular are electrical sprayers which have a capacity of about 12-14 gallons and have wheels. They are powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery and produce a spray similar to a new compression sprayer. One such brand is a Spray Boss.


Robert B. Martin, Jr., ARS CR Atomist Owners Manual Spray Boss Owners Manual

[Editor's Note: Reprinted from "The Arlington Rose Review", August 1996, Joe Mirilovich, Editor.]