Last week I provided information on how to apply liquid fertilizer with a hose-end sprayer. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do this method, if you have a smaller yard it is much easier to purchase liquid fertilizer in a ready-to-spray bottle. Instead of pouring the product into a hose-end sprayer, you simply screw the bottle on to your garden hose so you can fertilizer while you water.
Most ready-to-spray bottles are pre-calibrated to deliver one ounce of product for every gallon of water sprayed. As mentioned in the first post of this series, most liquid fertilizers are applied at a rate of ounces per 1,000 square feet, so you have to know 1.) how large your lawn is, and 2.) how many gallons of water it takes to cover 1,000 square feet. This second number will depend on how fast you move, so it varies from person to person. However, unlike an adjustable hose-end sprayer, you can’t change the flow rate, so the only factor you can control is the application speed.
Because you can’t un-apply liquid fertilizer after you have sprayed it, erring on the side of under-applying is a good way to start.
- Determine how much area you need to cover. Let’s assume you have 8,000 sq ft.
- Determine how much product is required to cover that area. If the application rate is 2 ounces/1,000 sq ft, you need 16 ounces. For a one-quart bottle of liquid fertilizer, that means you need to apply half a bottle to your entire lawn.
- Turn the bottle to the “Mix” setting.
- Turn on the water to about half the full water pressure.
- Apply liquid fertilizer to about a quarter of the total coverage area, then stop to see how much product you have already applied. (It should be about 1/8 of the bottle.)
- If you have applied too much, move more quickly; if you have applied too little, move more slowly. It takes a little trial and error, but if you know how much you need, you can adjust your application speed accordingly.
For products with a higher application rate, multiple passes may make more sense than crawling at a snail’s pace while you apply. You could try to do some tricky math if you know the approximate flow rate of your hose, but since this varies so significantly, it’s really difficult to provide universal directions for applying liquid fertilizer with a ready-to-spray bottle…. believe me, I have tried!
(And yes, that’s a tiny sneak peek of our new packaging and labels for retail stores. More to come soon!)