Spray Rig for soil drenches?

John_KAYS

Well-Known Member
To explain where I am coming from before I ask my questions: I am an ISA CA, but I have next to no experience with pesticides. Our company is a small, family run and operated business in Berks County, PA...doing mostly pruning, crown restoration/corrective pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, cable bracing, and all that sort of thing. I am looking into getting a Pesticide Applicator Certification and License and am interested in starting small.

Now for my questions - understanding that I have very little knowledge in this field - I am looking into what method and what costs I am likely to see going into this new area. Soil drenches seem to be a natural beginning step rather than taking on too many forms of application. I think i'll stay away from foliar spraying, but I am wondering what people have to say about the most logical entry into pesticide application. Do I go for an injection kit which I have heard have less selection for compatible pesticides? Do I go for soil drenches and mix in buckets? Do I get a spray rig and premix to do soil drenches allowing for a streamline operation? Am I sounding like I have no clue what I am doing? Can you even do soil drenches with a spray rig?

What my business partner would like to do, for example, is have a rig on a truck and line up a bunch of hemlock woolly adelgid jobs, mix a tank for the entire lineup and go out without having much fuss doing soil drenches at each stop.

Are there any soil drenches that are successful at treating EAB? Would I really need to do injections with tree-age for that? I have seen a bunch of other products advertised as being able to treat EAB, but with more applications, or not as successful.

I really just want to be able to help my clients and not just watch all of their trees :popcorn: slowly die a miserable death:rayos:. In the past and currently we have to refer to a larger company, but there aren't a lot of options and they aren't exactly local which ups the cost for our clients to save their trees. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
A pickup type spray rig, 200 gl with say a Hypro pump with a real and 200 ft or so of hos will work. You'll need a fert needle/soil injector as well. Clean and flush between pesticides to root soak/injection materials.

Imidacloprid as a soak/soil injection still works pretty well as a preventative eat treatment but over say 25" or so may be problematic but if high rates are used it could work.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Agree with JD...imidacloprid works great with both wooly adelgid and EAB (ahead of the big wave...not after trees are being hammered).

I have been very happy with the injection needle from Rittenhouse. It tells you how much you are putting through. I measure the mix so I use 1/4L per inch of dbh for the "regular" rate or 1/2 L for the high rate (trees over 15" dbh).

200 gallons is a lot, but not bad to have the capacity. 50-60 gallons can keep me busy for most of a day doing EAB soil drenches. I carry extra water in case I need more...I'd rather mix more on the run than have 20 gallons of mix left at the end of a day (I usually run short because I am using last year's measurements and trees have the pesky habit of growing!). You don't need a big sprayer pump and engine. 350psi and 5-6 GPM is plenty for that. Get a Honda...
 

John_KAYS

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the advice @JD3000 . I have heard that mixes need regular agitation, and imidacloprid is likely the way we would go so it is good to know it needs more attention in that regard.

@ATH , thanks for sharing your use/capacity. That's really helpful for a newbie.

@Levi.CO, I'd rather not use pesticides, but when I see a a client's favorite tree declining from a pest invasion I struggle to see another way. I can either pass the job on, or watch the tree die. I realize that there are consequences to using pesticides, but there are also consequences to not using them...am I right?
 

Leroy

Well-Known Member
As far as I understand the global food supply is largely dependent on pesticides at the moment so we're kinda stuck there unfortunately. Landscapes are a different thing to me, entirely.

The leaves of the tree will not be for the healing of the nation if they are full of neonicotinoids!
 

Leroy

Well-Known Member
John, I was in the same boat as you a few years ago and convinced myself it was a good idea. After 2 years of injections I really regret it, ymmv. Just thought I'd offer a counterpoint to these maniacs who cheerlead the whole affair... of destroying the biosphere "responsibly".
 

John_KAYS

Well-Known Member
I understand Levi,

I am curious though, are you saying let the trees die...or do you have another solution. We should definitely exhaust all the Cultural, Mechanical, and Biological methods of control before resorting to Chemical, but do you think there is another way to battle the Emerald Ash Borer for instance?

I am definitely not going to be just spraying chemicals around without thought of consequence. Our thought is to treat Woolly Adelgid and EAB with systemics. I have seen drastic improvements in hemlocks with pesticide control...

Thank you Levi for your experience going through this. I am not entirely sure we want to go into pesticides so it is good to hear from all sides. I would like to make a decision with as much knowledge as I can on the subject. I appreciate the article you shared and I will do further research as well. Thanks.

I welcome all suggestions!

This really is valuable to me. So thanks for sharing.
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
We use a small trailer spray rig (200 gal) for soil drenches and soil injections. We use this for humates and soil amendments. For pesticides, which we have stream-lined and minimized, we use basal drenches via buckets for individual application and a backpack sprayer for bark banding.

We started offering limited pesticide applications for the similar reasons: limited companies to refer to with confidence and a desire to use the least toxic method that will get the job done. We push best cultural practices to minimize the need for pesticides.
 

Leroy

Well-Known Member
I know you're a thoughtful person from past exchanges, John. Personally I think we should let eab play its course, as a human race we have more important things to focus on. Yes, let the tree die and move on.
 
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ATH

Well-Known Member
Imidacloprid does need good mixing to get dissolved, but it does dissolve. It is not a suspension, so it doesn't take much to keep it there.

In other words, I wouldn't spring to mechanical agitation. Unless you are looking at a lot of fertilization with the same rig (which I am not a fan of a lot of fertilization, so I still wouldn't do mechanical agitation!).
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
On the philosophical side: not everyone agrees with the "let it die" approach. By no means am I saying there is no place for that. I have prescribed it on many occasions! If the decision is made to keep it, who would you rather attend to those trees?

As for environmental impact, letting trees die and using equipment to remove them is not a net 0 environmental impact either. I'm fairly certian that it would come down to a lot of personal options and value judgments to say which is ecoligically worse: removal or treatment. Both have their place in my experience...

I certainly appreciate your thoughts Levi - not trying to argue that you are wrong (cause I don't think you are entirely wrong), just offering food for thought.

One more nugget: if we stopped treating all trees with all neonics, would that make a notable dent in the total amount used??? I don't know. It would be a reduction and it needs to start somewhere...but the turf industry seems to be to have a much lower risk:reward ratio than tree care if looking at negative and positive impacts on ecology (unless you assume everyone would pave instead of have grass...).
 

Leroy

Well-Known Member
I know we (trees people) and even turf added in are a drop in the bucket when considering global use of pesticides. Still I think we are a powerful force in our influence of the collective conscious. Think about it, tree guys are super cool dudes and people listen to us, we are influencers to people places and things beyond our little industry, we could be a strong voice for a positive change.

RE the decision made to treat would I rather be involved? No. That is not the client I want to work with, personally.

Good question about the consideration of impact difference removal vs. treatment. I would say removal is less impactful considering the tree will almost certainly need to be removed at some future point regardless of EAb etc. But yes, the equipment side of this industry is just as bad if not worse for the environment then the chemical side.
 

TsugaPHC

Member
Loading up a spray rig with a tank of imidacloprid and then going out on a route to treat several properties worth of trees is not the way to go. The soil injection/drench rate for imid is based on DBH, not fluid ounces per gallon of water like most chems. If you just mixed up a 200 gallon tank with X fl oz of imid and then treated everyone's trees, you'd be drastically under-treating some and drastically over-treating others. Not smart from either a fiscal or an environmental standpoint.

If you think the bulk of your PHC work will be in hemlocks for adelgid, you can easily drench with a bucket. Amount of water really doesn't matter as long as you use enough to penetrate the root zone. I've drenched with as little as 2 gallons for a 18" DBH tree. As long as there's good soil moisture (and not too much surface organic matter, which binds up the product), you should be fine. Another option would be to do basal trunk sprays with dinotefuron and Pentrabark. Dino is much more expensive than imid, and the use rate for trunk sprays is high, but it's easily done with a backpack sprayer, and is really quick (read: efficient). You can also window in dino treatments to avoid any flare back from spruce spider mites on hemlock.

Consider investing in a trunk injection system if you'll be doing EAB work. Emamectin benzoate is far and away more effective than either imidacloprid or dinotefuron across all sizes of ash.

I firmly believe that foliar sprays still have a their place in landscape PHC, even on large trees in the right setting. Do you need to run right out and invest in a $10k spray rig though? No. Start small, doing what you've proposed, and build from there.

Also (and I can't stress this enough): TAKE LOTS OF PHC/IPM CLASSES! Far too many hacks buy a spray rig, get the cheapest broad-spectrum (kill-all) chem they can, and cover spray everything. It's improper, unethical, and bad for the environment. If you can't diagnose a pest/disease issue, then you don't treat until you know what it is.

Feel free to reach out, I'm out of northern DE, I'd be happy to meet up in the off season to chat PHC over lunch/beer.
 

John_KAYS

Well-Known Member
Loading up a spray rig with a tank of imidacloprid and then going out on a route to treat several properties worth of trees is not the way to go. The soil injection/drench rate for imid is based on DBH, not fluid ounces per gallon of water like most chems. If you just mixed up a 200 gallon tank with X fl oz of imid and then treated everyone's trees, you'd be drastically under-treating some and drastically over-treating others. Not smart from either a fiscal or an environmental standpoint.

If you think the bulk of your PHC work will be in hemlocks for adelgid, you can easily drench with a bucket. Amount of water really doesn't matter as long as you use enough to penetrate the root zone. I've drenched with as little as 2 gallons for a 18" DBH tree. As long as there's good soil moisture (and not too much surface organic matter, which binds up the product), you should be fine. Another option would be to do basal trunk sprays with dinotefuron and Pentrabark. Dino is much more expensive than imid, and the use rate for trunk sprays is high, but it's easily done with a backpack sprayer, and is really quick (read: efficient). You can also window in dino treatments to avoid any flare back from spruce spider mites on hemlock.

Consider investing in a trunk injection system if you'll be doing EAB work. Emamectin benzoate is far and away more effective than either imidacloprid or dinotefuron across all sizes of ash.

I firmly believe that foliar sprays still have a their place in landscape PHC, even on large trees in the right setting. Do you need to run right out and invest in a $10k spray rig though? No. Start small, doing what you've proposed, and build from there.

Also (and I can't stress this enough): TAKE LOTS OF PHC/IPM CLASSES! Far too many hacks buy a spray rig, get the cheapest broad-spectrum (kill-all) chem they can, and cover spray everything. It's improper, unethical, and bad for the environment. If you can't diagnose a pest/disease issue, then you don't treat until you know what it is.

Feel free to reach out, I'm out of northern DE, I'd be happy to meet up in the off season to chat PHC over lunch/beer.
Wow, thank you for the thorough response. It all makes sense to me and goes along with what I've read. One of the reasons for starting small is to only treat what I know for sure. (e.g. adelgid and EAB.) Easy to recognize and diagnose, find the most narrow spectrum pesticide, treat with a very targeted method, etc.

You answered one of the questions I was interested in by detailing the rates per dbh. I was thinking it would be a tough logistical calculation anyway to determine the accumulative dbh for the day, but to hear that the mix would be pretty imbalanced for each tree does create a problem. One of the reasons behind doing a mass mix before setting off for the day was to eliminate the need for a water supply. I guess we could easily bring a tank of water as easily/more easily than bringing a mix. You see I am obviously new to this...

One of the other appeals to bringing a rig to a job site was the professional vibe rather than bringing a bucket and a watering can...

@TsugaPHC As you say imidacloprid is out in the premix scenario, so is there a chemical that would work in rates per fluid ounces that would do the job as a soil drench? Also what does "window in" mean?
You can also window in dino treatments to avoid any flare back from spruce spider mites on hemlock.
Does that mean you can apply multiple times during the year?

And to sum up, you would recommend for starting into PHC/IPM to go for bucket and backpack applications apposed to any other form of soil drench method and trunk injections for EAB.... of course your number one in advice is to take lots of classes.!!!
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
+1 on a Honda engine.

200gl tank may be overkill for pesticides but you'll want the capacity for humates and ammendments.

+1 on a good backpack for Dino sprays.

An absolute is the self education and classes regarding PHC.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
I'll echo the lots of classes!

I disagree, however, that you can't accurately mix and apply a tank full of imidacloprid.

Just to use simple numbers for an example:
I am scheduled to treat:
*15 trees under 15" DBH totaling 150 inches
*20 trees over 15" DBH totaling 450 inches
*I use the 2F formulation of imidacloprid. That means the smaller trees get .2 oz per inch of dbh while the larger ones get .4 oz per inch. So I need a total of 210 oz of imidacloprid (30oz for the smaller trees, 180 for the bigger.)
*I need to mix that into 262.5 Liters (As I stated above, the smaller trees get .25 Liter per inch, the larger get .5 L - so 37.5 for the small+225 for the big).
*The Rittenhouse injector I use measures down to .1 L, so I know exactly how much mix, and therefore, imidacloprid into each tree.

I still do plenty of trees with a "bucket"...but they take at least 4x as long per tree - probably more like 5-6x amount of time by the time each dose is measured out, measuring cup rinsed, trench dug around the tree, etc.... When I am just treating one or two trees, that is quicker than loading and cleaning the tank. But for doing 35 trees at 28 different properties on the same day...no thanks. 6-12 holes right around the bast of each tree (depending on size) each taking less than 3 seconds - I spend more time recording than applying and I have a pretty efficient form that I've made to do on the tablet.

Like I said above, I "underestimate" (mix using last year's DBH #s) on purpose so I don't have leftovers at the end of the day. I may do the last 2 trees with a bucket, or if I have several more, I'll mix up another small batch measured out for what I have left to do.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Regarding injecting TREE-age or soil application of imidacloprid:

There is a place for both in my experience. I am probably just about done injecting with TREE-age (side note, use G4, not the original TREE-age - it goes in much, much, much faster). Maybe 1 or 2 more years. The worst of EAB is pretty well past us in NW Ohio. I still find adult feeding on leaves and see some flying around. People that quit treating all together are slowly losing their trees. So we are not rid of it...but the pressure is a whole lot less than it was 5-8 years ago. If I can avoid drilling into the trees to inject, I would prefer that.

However, I would not have wanted to be without that tool, which I agree IS more effective than imidacloprid, when the worst of the wave was hitting.

The only place I saw for dinotefuran in EAB was when we were being hammered and I get a call in June, July, August. We couldn't afford to wait for a month for imidacloprid to get into the tree. The soil was often too dry for good uptake of TREE-age (especially before G4), so Safari was the best bet. It is quicker than a bucket drench, but slower than what I am doing with the soil injector. If I am doing multiple trees, it is also less accurate unless you mix for each tree or are measuring the dosage coming out of the sprayer (can be done with a meter or for a lot less money by using a constant flow valve, keeping the pressure up and timing - assuming you have calibrated the sprayer with the product you are using...). I never used dinotefuran on the same tree twice. I told the client we'd use that in the summer to act fast then be back for about 50% of the cost to treat with imidacloprid next spring or trunk inject TREE-age lasting 2 years for about 160% of the cost. It is a good product, just not the best long-term treatment for EAB in my experience.

For adelgid, you want imidacloprid because it impacts those boogers for several years. The only thing that would change that plan for me is if you are hitting your AI/acre limits of soil treatment. In those cases, I'd probably soil treat up to that limit, then trunk inject imidacloprid the rest. OR....soil treat up to the limit, dinotefuran the rest, then return next year to imidacloprid the dinotefuran trees. We don't have much Hemlock here, and no adelgid yet...so I am basing that on what I've read, learned in workshops, and the the one day experience of helping treat the initial infestations in SE Ohio. So maybe others have found better ways!
 
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