Calibrating Hand-Held Granular Spreaders for Nursery Weed Control

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Even the best herbicides will not provide effective weed control if they are not applied accurately and uniformly. Too little product results in poor weed control and higher hand-weeding costs. Too much can injure crops, reducing the number available for sale. Most granular herbicide labels contain some recommended settings for common application equipment. However, these recommendations are just starting points. To obtain the correct dose, you need to calibrate the spreader. Spreader calibration is essentially a very simple process:

  1. measure the width of spread;
  2. apply the granules to a small area;
  3. measure the amount applied to this area;
  4. compare this amount to the desired dose and adjust the spreader settings until the desired output is obtained.
Amy Barker
Joe Neal
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service