Now is the Time to Winterize your Herbicide Sprayers

Dropping temperatures, snow on the ground, and shrinking daylight hours means that it’s time to winterize your pesticide equipment! Harsh winters like we have in Jackson can damage your sprayers if you don’t take proper precautions and measures. Plus, equipment parts seem to keep rising in price. To avoid costly mistakes yet maximize the lifespan of your equipment, stick with us to learn how to winterize your sprayers’ filters, nozzles, pressure gauges, other sprayer components, and more.

Before you winterize: Wear your PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is more than just clothes and gear that you should wear—it is mandated by law for your safety. PPE is worn to reduce hazards that could cause serious injuries or illnesses. Even if you’ve worked with a specific herbicide for years without any adverse effects, you should still wear every piece of PPE that is required by the label.

Keep up with sprayer maintenance BEFORE you need to winterize

When you keep up with general maintenance and cleaning throughout the year, winterizing is much easier and your chances of needing to buy new replacement pieces decreases. Plus, make sure that you know the best storage procedures for every season of the year. Where and how you should store something in the summer may or may not be the same as in the winter.

Winterize your sprayers for maximum use next spring

Why winterize right now and not leave it for the spring?

  • It is easier to to remove herbicide residue from filters, hoses, and tanks before the residue has hardened
  • Freezing temperatures throughout the winter may damage pipes and pumps
  • Your equipment will work better the first time you use it next spring
  • Your equipment’s warranty may become void if you don’t practice your due diligence
  • Winterized equipment is safer for you and everyone around you

The best way to winterize is to follow the owner’s manual. Step by step instructions will help you ensure the longevity of your equipment. Some of the suggestions you may notice will follow these guidelines:

Filters and nozzles:

  • Remove, wash them with soapy water, and rinse.
  • Store metal components in vegetable oil to avoid rusting

Pressure gauges: 

  • Remove 
  • Store in upright position in room temperature

Sprayers: 

  • Remove as much water as possible. Use an air hose to rid the sprayer of any moisture

Fuel and hydraulic oil tanks:

  • Keep full to eliminate condensation
  • Add stabilizers

Lights and flashers:

  • Check warning lights and flashers to ensure that the sprayer’s electronics are working properly

Batteries: 

  • Remove, clean, and store batteries because they are expensive pieces of equipment

Hoses:

  • Inspect hoses for wear and tear. If you need to replace or fix an old hose, it is better to start that process in the fall than to wait until spring.

Straps, hoops, and bolts: 

  • Over time the equipment on your tank may loosen. Retighten and inspect everything now.

As always, refer to the owner’s manual instead of these basic guidelines. Each sprayer is different and will require specific instructions for winterization. 

Image by Juliane Lutz from Pixabay
Be proactive—winterize your equipment now!

If you’ve worked with sprayer equipment before, then you know that the quote “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true. It is easier and cheaper to stop a problem before it occurs than to try to fix it after something goes wrong. Realizing in the spring that you didn’t properly clean or store something and now you need a new part and are behind in work, is an external stressor that doesn’t need to exist in your life. Be proactive right now and you’ll thank yourself later.